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rawrgrr's avatar

I'm a high school student and I need help choosing the right courses, can someone please help me?

Asked by rawrgrr (1555 points ) February 8th, 2011

Okay so i need to choose my courses for grade 11 and this is when I need to start deciding what I really want to do in life. I am very interested in art and technology and I want to be a graphic designer or an industrial designer (I’m very inspired by Jonathan Ive and his ability to create beautiful things)

I’m a little confused with what I need to take. Do I need visual arts? I heard i need to hand in paintings or something for my portfolio..? Is any flutherite a graphic designer or anything related? What’s important to have? Sciences, Math, and tech? Art? Sorry if these are stupid questions it’s just these are important decisions that will affect the rest of my life so I really don’t want to end up choosing something I’ll regret so any help is appreciated. Thank you!

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15 Answers

BarnacleBill's avatar

Take math. If you’re interested in industrial design, look at DAAP for an idea of what you’re going to need to get into an industrial design program. (DAAP is one of the top three design and architecture schools in the country, and does not accept portfolios from undergrad students.)

everephebe's avatar

I want to let you know now, that you can’t make some big mistake in class choice that will ruin your life. Speaking about Apple, here’s a great speech by Steve Jobs about these sorts of choices.

Design everyday. That’s how you get good. Notice what you like, be aware of all the design around you. Find people that inspire you like Jonathan Ive. Take whatever classes you want. In college you’ll learn that most of your education takes place outside of class.

TexasDude's avatar

What you take in college is a hell of a lot more important than what you take in highschool. Taking AP courses and that sort of thing will definitely help you, though.

That said, it wouldn’t hurt to take a lot math and art courses, if possible. They won’t help you in an administrative sense (getting into college in the first place, or whatever) but they will probably help you in the long run if you take the knowledge you gain to heart and use it to build a foundation for what you will learn in college.

When you do get to college, take even more math classes. The more math, the better.

Mariah's avatar

My recommendation would be to focus more on taking the sorts of classes that will get you into a great college rather than on taking the sorts of classes that actually teach you the skills you need for the job you want. That’s what college classes will be for.
By this I mean take AP classes, IB classes, honors classes – whatever your school has to offer. Taking AP classes not only boosts your application, but teaches you the study skills you need for college, which makes the transition 100x easier.
Choosing the wrong high school classes will not screw up the rest of your life. Don’t put that kind of pressure on yourself at this stage in the game.
I agree with @everephebe that doing graphic design outside of the classroom is going to teach you more than any high school class on graphic design will. If you’ve played around with photoshop for any length of time, you probably already know more than what a high school graphic design class will teach you.

rawrgrr's avatar

Thanks for all your answers! And @everephebe @Mariah luckily i’ve been doing photoshop since grade 6 (i guess thats kinda wierd aahha) so i really love graphic design, and I already know Photoshop inside and out (as well as other related programs) so I’m happy about that. I was putting so much stress on myself for my course selection so I guess i just need to calm down ahahah. thanks!

rawrgrr's avatar

Also @everephebe that was a great speech, i’ve seen it before! Thanks for that, really made me happy

everephebe's avatar

@rawrgrr you’re on track. Take AP or which ever classes you think you can ace, top marks make a difference. Draw, doodle, collage… believe in your dreams. Don’t worry you keep up with what you love and you’re going to kick some ass at whatever you put your mind to. Keep watching great things on youtube. Like TEDtalks which you probably already know about.

Mariah's avatar

@rawrgrr I did the same and I think I know photoshop way better than any of my friends who took classes on it in high school, haha. The class would just bore you to death and be a waste of your time, most likely. I think it’s great that you’re pursuing your interest outside of school and finding things that inspire you.

krissy007's avatar

My advice would be to take whatever subjects you like the most, it will really help you get good grades and in the end you get whatever job you enjoy most.

Nullo's avatar

If your guidance counselor is worth his salary, you might have a word with him.

LostInParadise's avatar

It is way too early for you to narrow your academic interests. You never know where an inspiration will come from for graphic design. Study history, art, literature and science. There will be plenty of time to specialize when you take college courses.

BarnacleBill's avatar

What you might find more beneficial than developing a portfolio is to take a summer program aimed at individuals interested in industrial design. Here’s a 2006 list of universities that offered summer programs like this. Most of the programs are designed for high school and college students. I’m familiar with the Harvard Career Discoveries program for architecture and urban planning; it’s six weeks of classroom and studio experience. You do actual projects and you get an evaluation at the end. The cost of the program is rather reasonable. This looks much better on a college application than putting together a portfolio, and it gives you exposure to studio instruction.

rawrgrr's avatar

Thanks everyone. @Nullo good idea I should really do that!

Also does anyone know any more careers have a combination of both art and technology? I really love them both and I’m interested in a career related to those subjects.

Mariah's avatar

@rawrgrr Video game design! My college offers a degree called interactive media and game development which combines art and technology.

cbloom8's avatar

Two priorities:
1) If you are planning on applying to a specializing school, take as much of that subject that can influence your application process. If it doesn’t influence your application, don’t make it a priority (you can certainly still take it).

2) Beside any that help you apply, take a general mix of all topics (Social Studies, Math, Science, English, and any others), and make them the hardest you can. Take as much AP as you can manage and focus on improving your general resume and getting ahead in college.

Basically, your general goal should be to get into the best college you can for what you want to learn. Once you do that, go into college and learn what you want to in the best program you can get into.

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