I often have the honor of getting to work with the second college-bound child in a family. A common question that parents ask is: "Should we encourage our second college bound child to take the same high school classes as our first?"
I understand the logic of the question.
If the first child took those courses and had a good college admission result, it is a no-brainer to repeat those choices for the second child, right? The answer depends on the academic interests, academic achievement history and college aspirations of the other college-bound children in the family.
High school course selection is a critical part of preparing for college. Generally, students should take the most advanced courses for which they are properly prepared. Students who have the skills and preparation to succeed in Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) courses should strongly consider enrolling in those courses. However, not all students are ready for AP courses and not taking an AP class will not mean that a child cannot go to college. Colleges and universities have a wide variety of requirements for admission. While some colleges strongly encourage or require completion of AP or IB coursework, others do not. The same is true for acceptance into majors. Some majors have higher high school math requirements than others.
The best approach is to learn from the first child's college journey and realize that the second child may have a similar journey or one that is very different.