Host a 1-2-3 Go! Event
Learn more about how your school can host a 1-2-3 Go! event and help students 1) Prepare, 2) Apply, 3) Pay and Go to college.

Choosing Classes

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The classes you take in middle school can be important in determining what kind of classes you will take in high school. The classes you take in high school will make a difference in what kind of college you can go to or if you go to college at all. So as you see, it all begins right now!

Find Your Interests and Skills

Going to college or studying for a career can be a major decision. You should be as sure as possible that the education you receive will prepare you for the life and the job you want.

When you consider college and a career, it's helpful to start with what you already know and what you already find interesting.

The Virginia Education Wizard is a simple online tool to help you assess your skills and interests. It was created by the Virginia Community College System but can be used by anyone.

Virginia High School Students: Review instructions on how to use the Virginia Wizard to help you find your career and step by step guidance to take the online assessments and see how your current likes and interests may connect with your future career and education.

Middle School

You can start preparing for college in the 8th grade. It is important that you take classes in math (especially Algebra I), English, science, history, a foreign language if possible, and do well in your electives. Take classes that will challenge and prepare you for high school. If you start challenging yourself now, you will be more prepared for college preparatory classes in high school.

High School

Colleges care about the courses you take in high school. The more you challenge yourself when choosing high-school courses, the more options you will have.

Honors Classes

  • More challenging academically.
  • Typically fast-paced; cover topics in greater depth.
  • Generally weighted higher for grade point average (GPA) but do not earn you college credit.

Advanced Placement (AP) Classes

  • More challenging academically: Courses prepare you to take rigorous exams that can lead to college credit.
  • More than 30 AP classes are offered in various subject areas.
  • Your high school may not offer AP classes in all AP subjects, but most AP classes also are available on online (a fee may be required).
  • After coursework is completed, students take nationally administered AP exams in their chosen subject areas.
  • At a college's discretion, AP scores may be used to gain college credit, advanced placement or both for the course.

Dual-Enrollment Programs

  • Students take college-level classes for college credit while continuing to participate in regular high-school activities.
  • Classes often are offered at high schools or nearby community colleges.
  • Not every high school participates; check with your high school counselor.

International Baccalaureate (IB) Program

  • Two-year curriculum offered by the International Baccalaureate Organization that combines requirements of a mixture of different national education systems.
  • Offered in English, French and Spanish.
  • Allows students moving around the country or from one country to another to transfer among IB schools.
  • A list of participating schools around the world is available at

Technical Preparation (Tech Prep) Programs

  • Multiyear program (two or more years in high school and two in an occupational/technical program at a community or technical college) designed to prepare students for technical occupations.
  • Expands education and employment occupations by preparing you for careers in health care, business, industry, labor and government.
  • Strong emphasis on math, science and English.
  • A complete Tech Prep program includes a comprehensive career-development plan, courses designed for specific careers that integrate academics and occupational preparation, and a smooth transition from high school to college or employment.

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