A “major” in high school?
What does a “major” do for me?
Everyone takes the basic classes you need to graduate, right? What about the classes you want to take? Florida ninth graders starting high school in 2007-2008 now have the power to pick a “major area of interest.” Your “major” is made up of four elective classes. These can be classes offered at your school, and/or through dual enrollment, online/virtual education classes, and certain internships and work experience. The possibilities are endless.
Most importantly,a“major”gives you the chance to explore subjects you’re interested in or focus in on something you really love. It can be something you might want to do later in life for a career,a skill you’d like to learn or just something you want to know more about. A “major” gives you the opportunity to:
What types of courses make up a “major?” Across Florida, there are more than 400“majors”available to high school students, although not all may be offered at your school or within your school district. For your “major,” you’ll need to take four elective courses that are on top of the 16 courses required to graduate. These classes can be: • General academic courses (math, literature, science, foreign language,social studies,etc.) • Career and technical courses (electronics, landscaping, auto mechanics,culinary arts,etc.) • Fine Arts courses (theatre,dance,painting,etc.) • A combination of courses that are related to one topic of interest (communications,engineering,etc.) Experience such as internships, academic team competitions,and work experience outside of school may count toward your“major,”too!
• Earn additional credit toward college,technical school or a beginning certiﬁcation in an occupation • Receive credit and recognition for accomplishments outside the normal school day, like supervised activities that are related to the“major”you’re enrolled in
What if…? Q: What if I don’t know what I want to do with the rest of my life yet? A: A high school “major” isn’t the same thing as a college major. And, it’s not a commitment to a lifelong decision. You’re not picking your future career or your college major, and you’re certainly not stuck with your “major” for the rest of your life. Consider it a time to investigate what you like,or think you’ll like. Q: What if I don’t complete a “major?” Can I still graduate?
• Make your high school experience more relevant
A: Absolutely, you will still be able to graduate. You need to be enrolled in a“major,”but do not need to complete one to graduate. Also, you can change your “major” without any penalty.
• Increase the value of elective classes and your high school diploma
Q: What if my school doesn’t offer the “major” I’m interested in?
• Earn a special designation on your high school diploma
A: Choices might be limited because of teacher or course availability at your school. Check out options available through virtual education or through dual enrollment at a local community college. Also, let your teachers and principal know what classes you’re interested in, so they can decide if it is possible to add that course for the next year.
So, how do I pick a “major?” Each school is different and may have different processes for enrolling in a “major.” Check with your high school (or high school you plan to attend). Your guidance counselor, or someone in the guidance ofﬁce, will be a great resource. If you’re in eighth grade, ask your middle school, too. Visit Florida’s online student advising system, www.FACTS.org, to see which majors your high school is offering. Just click and pick your school for the list of“majors”and courses that are part of the major. This won’t formally enroll or register you in classes,but gives you an idea what’s out there.
Q: What if I transfer to another school that doesn’t offer the same“majors”as my previous school? A: Ifyoutransfertoaschoolthatdoesn’tofferthesamemajors or classes,you can see if the courses you need are available through virtual education or dual enrollment. You may also change your major at this time, without penalty, and you’ll still get credit for the courses you already took.
Florida’s High School Graduation Requirements The formula for graduation is simple: 16 + 4 + 4 = your diploma. Remember, it takes the successful completion of a combination of required and elective courses to graduate. You’ll need:
16 = required courses +
4 = elective courses in your“major” +
4 = additional elective credits (you can choose another “major”or just different classes you find interesting
= your Florida high school diploma and ticket to your future!
Choices Florida Department of Education www.fldoe.org