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Selecting High School Courses

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Selecting High School Courses

The Ontario Secondary Curriculum offers a wide range of Grade 9 to 12 courses. Secondary courses are categorized by discipline, grade, and course type. While the majority of students and parents are aware of the requirements for completion of the Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD), many need guidance and help in the course selection process.

Grade 9 and 10 Students

In the first two years of high school, students can select a combination of academic, applied and open courses. 

Academic Courses (D) develop students’ knowledge and skills through the study of theory and abstract problems.
Applied Courses (P) focus on the essential concepts of a subject and develop students’ knowledge and skills through practical applications and concrete examples.
Open Courses (O) are designed to broaden students’ knowledge and skills in subjects that reflect their interest but are not designed with the specific requirements of the university, college, or the workplace in mind.

In selecting courses, students are encouraged to reflect on their:

  • Academic Strengths
  • Personal Interests
  • Academic and Career Goal
  • Learning Style and Ability
Note#1: Except for Grade 9 French Academic and Applied (FSF1D/1P), the remaining Grade 9 courses do not have a prerequisite per se. The successful completion of Grade 8 acts as the prerequisite for enrollment in Grade 9 courses Note # 2: The prerequisite for Grade 9 Academic and Applied French is a minimum of 600 hours of French instruction. A student who does not have the mentioned prerequisite can fulfill this OSSD requirement through the completion of FSF1O course.
Note # 3: In most cases, a student who is enrolled in the Applied version of a Grade 9 course such as English (ENG1P) or Science, (SNC1P) can enroll in the Academic version of that course in Grade 10. When such a change in course type happens (going from Applied to Academic), student benefits from additional preparation. The exception to this rule is Mathematics. Note #4: A student who has successfully completed the Principles of Mathematics Grade 9 Applied (MPM1P) can take Mathematics Grade 10 Academic (MPM2D) if he/she has completed the half credit transfer course, MPM1H.

Grade 11 and 12 Students

As students enter the last two years of high school, they become more focused on their post-secondary and career pathway. Depending on what destination they have in mind, pupils can select from college preparation (C), university preparation (U), mixed level (M) (college/university preparation), workplace preparation and open courses.

Students who wish to earn admission to a post-secondary institution require to complete a combination of C, U and M level courses. Depending on the college/university and program of study, the combination of these courses will vary. For example, students who wish to enter an engineering program are often required to have senior mathematics courses such as Advanced Functions and Calculus whereas students who wish to enter the field of sciences are required to have the appropriate science courses such as biology and physics.

Students and parents are encouraged to learn about college/university program requirements ahead of time and plan the course selection accordingly. In addition, students benefit from selecting a wide selection of secondary courses so they can apply to a few programs in case they do not earn admission to the program or college/university of their choice.

Students who wish to enter the job market can benefit from work preparation courses and taking advantage of outside school experiences such as co-op placements.

Contact us today if you need help with your course selection process.