The High School History Courses You Should Take (2023)

The High School History Courses You Should Take (1)

Story. Maybe it's written by the victors. Perhaps it will be repeated, first as tragedy and then as farce. Or maybe it doesn't repeat itself, but it rhymes. Either way, it's an important part of your high school education (and life).

But how to study it? What courses should I take in high school to meet college requirements? What options are there to go further? And what can you do if you're a history buff who just can't learn enough about the past?

Read on to learn about high school and college expectations, honors and AP classes, and ways you can expand your understanding of other social sciences!

What do high schools expect?

As the car ad says, your mileage may vary, in which case each high school has their own standards for how many years of history and/or other social studies you must complete in order to graduate.

Most public schools in most states require 2-3 years of social studies(this may be different for private schools). In addition to history, social studies classes include economics, geography, world cultures, civics, and government.

So check with your own high school how many years you need and what counts as social studies.

The High School History Courses You Should Take (2)Accidental cairns or the remains of England's wealthiest abbey after Henry VIII and his Reformation put an end to it? History = amazing true stories.

What do universities expect?

Again, there is no hard and fast rule. Still, most colleges want you to have taken at least 2 standard history courses:


  • american/american history
  • World history or European history

Colleges generally want to take 2-3 year social studies courses, but you should definitely check your target school's admissions requirements to see what they expect.

Sometimes colleges don't have requirements, they just make suggestions. For example, while UCLArequiresat least two years of social sciences, Harvardsuggestsat least two years.

Sometimes expectations depend on what you are applying for. For example, if you want to study engineering, you probably won't need to take as many social studies courses. On the other hand, if you are applying with the aim of studying social sciences, you should stand out here and show your interest.

How can I exceed expectations?

The High School History Courses You Should Take (3)

The Do-More Kid slowly walked up the stairs, easily exceeding the expectation that he would just leave.

honorable classes

If you want to exceed expectations, the best place to start is with your own school. Honors classes are likely to be similar to the standard classes your school offers, but go deeper and examine larger contexts for the historical subjects you are studying.

On the one hand, you will have to work a lot harder, but on the other hand, you will have a better understanding and be much better prepared for college-level history courses.

AP history lesson

There are three AP history options:
  • AP World History covering everything from 8000 B.C. C. so far in six periods, each with its own questions and thematic concerns
  • AP European History, which focuses on everything that happened in Europe from the mid-14th century to 2000
  • AP History of the United States, which covers the history of the United States from the time Native Americans first encountered Europeans to the present day.

IB diploma classes

There are two different IB History courses:
  • the first focuses on the history of Europe and the Islamic world
  • the second focuses on world history in the 20th centuryºcentury

What if I want more story?

It's not impossible to find more resources to keep you interested.

Find a great elective or two

This is the time to review your school's course catalogue. Are there electives that focus on a specific time in history (like the 19th century) or a specific group of people (like the Maya)?

Design your own course

You know what teachers love? Interested and committed students! Can you ask a teacher to help you create a project or independent study to explore your interests?

For example, you can focus on a specific part of history (e.g. trade along the Silk Road) or follow the development of a specific idea over time (e.g. the concept of passive resistance).

(Video) Online World History Courses for Middle School & High School students

Take an online course

For example, Stanford University aGymnasium im Internetwith 5 history courses and 1 guided independent study option. You can register for just one or all courses.

Brown University also offers a number ofOnline College Courses, including two related classes on American history and studies.

Take a course in the summer

Consult our guide toSummer institute for the giftedor our description ofStanford's two summer programs.

take a course at college

Finally, if you are very confident in your abilities or have a specific interest that you really want to learn about, you can take a college-level course online. Not only will you get an idea of ​​what college history class is like, but if you do it right, it will look good on your report card. You can even earn college credit just like you would in an AP course!

How else can I study social sciences?

Maybe you're already a history buff and ready to explore other ways societies, cultures and peoples interact. Then it's time to explore other courses that will broaden and deepen your understanding of the story by placing it in other contexts! These are classes like: Economics, Civics, Government, Politics, World Cultures, World Religions, Geography, etc.

Check out other AP Social Studies courses:

  • AP compared government and politics
  • AP Humangeographie
  • AP Makroökonomie
  • AP Microeconomics
  • PA Psychology
  • AP US Government and Politics

Check out other IB social studies courses:

  • Business
  • Geography
  • world politics
  • Information technology in a global society
  • Philosophy
  • Psychology
  • Social and Cultural Anthropology
  • religions of the world

there is even3 IB social studies courses are offered online:

  • Business
  • Information technology in a global society
  • Philosophy

How else can I show my achievements in the social sciences?

Ask your school counselor if you can apply to make your school a chapter of theRho Kappa Social Studies Honor Societyof the National Council for Social Studies.

In this way, you and others like you can be included in this society, which is the only national organization for junior high and high school students that recognizes excellence in the field of social studies.


What's next?

So excited about the story that you can't wait to pick up a book to study?We're here for you. Read our biographical reviewIda Lewis, Lighthouse Keeper (and more); use our guide to do soUnderstand the Platt Change and its implications; and discuss the American political system with our articlesseparation of powersmihow the executive can control the judiciary.

Are you still having trouble knowing whether AP or IB is better?come and see usguide to decide whichIs it suitable for you?

Ready to sit back and learn some history (but not like a school)?Our articles onthe history of hip hop,Invention of the 3-hole punch, miLoomis Fargo Attackshould do the trick.

Curious how your history knowledge can be applied to the SAT?Well, first of all, they probably made you a better writer. read aboutHow to improve your writing performance in the SAT, or better,how to get perfect 800mihow to throw 12 no sat essay.

And don't forget to read about themnew improved ACT writing test.

The High School History Courses You Should Take (4)

Thinking about college applications?

If you're a freshman, sophomore, or junior worried about college admissions, our world-class admissions advisors can help.We know exactly what types of students colleges want to host and can make sure your profile shines.

Preparation for accepting scholarship holdersis the best admissions consultancy in the world. We have helped thousands of students enter theirsschools of choice, from state universities to the Ivy League.

(Video) The Good And The Beautiful HISTORY for HIGH SCHOOL | How to use TG&TB HISTORY for HIGH SCHOOL CREDIT

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The High School History Courses You Should Take (5)

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The High School History Courses You Should Take (6)

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About the author

Scored in the 99th percentile on her SATs in high school, Anna studied English at Princeton and received her PhD in English Literature from Columbia. He is passionate about improving student access to higher education.

(Video) U.S. History Curriculum Choices (Middle / High School)

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What history should I take in high school? ›

Again, there is no hard and fast rule. Still, most colleges want you to have taken at least 2 standard history courses: American/US history. World history or European history.

What are the 4 types of history in high school? ›

The high school history curriculum consists of three different sections, American History, World History, and European History. However, the European History class is not mandatory and makes up for the AP class. Amongst the other AP history class, there is AP World History and AP U.S. history.

What are the best courses to take in highschool? ›

High School Classes Colleges Look For
  • English (Language Arts) Take English every year. ...
  • Math. Algebra and geometry help you succeed on admission tests and in college math classes. ...
  • Science. ...
  • Social Studies. ...
  • Foreign Languages. ...
  • The Arts. ...
  • Advanced College Courses.

What do you learn in 11th grade history? ›

Common topics for 11th grade social studies include the Age of Exploration and Discovery; the colonization and development of America; sectionalism; the American Civil War and Reconstruction; World Wars; the Great Depression; the Cold War and the nuclear era; and civil rights.

What history should I take in 10th grade? ›

View Our Lesson Demos! In 10th grade social studies, students usually focus on world history, including the early peoples and civilizations, medieval Europe, new technologies in warfare, and industrialism, global economics and more.

What is 9th grade history called? ›

The recommended context in the ninth and tenth grade is modern world history, 1450 to the present.

What is 11th grade history called? ›

In 11th grade social studies, students are usually taught U.S. History II or World History (depending on preference, state requirements and academic level).

What do you learn in 9th grade history? ›

Ninth graders studying world history will learn about major world regions. They will learn about the patterns of migration and settlement in each, how the human population is distributed, how people adapt to their environment, and the effects of physical geography on cultures.

What are the 7 concepts of history? ›

In History the key concepts are sources, evidence, continuity and change, cause and effect, significance, perspectives, empathy and contestability.

Do colleges look at 10th grade? ›

Colleges will look at your sophomore grades, whether it's to see if you maintained an acceptable GPA or improved from the year before. Getting a headstart with strong grades and challenging school work alongside extracurricular activities can make all the difference when you reach your senior year.

What AP classes do colleges look for? ›

As a general rule, you should aim for the following AP class numbers: Most Selective Schools (Top 20): APs in most or all of the core courses (English, Mathematics, Science, History, and Foreign Language), plus additional AP courses that relate to your goals, future major, or interests.

Do honors classes boost your GPA? ›

Do honors classes boost your GPA? Yes. Honors classes often boost your GPA by 0.5 points. Finishing with a 3.5 GPA in an honors course could equate to a 4.0 GPA in a regular course.

What do 12th graders learn in history? ›

Students will read primary sources and historical narratives. This course focuses on World War I, World War II, and the Cold War, with an emphasis on the causes and effects of warfare and the conflicts between communism and democracy.

What should your GPA be in 11th grade? ›

Usually, a GPA of 3.0 - 3.5 is considered good enough at many high schools, colleges, and universities. Top academic institutions usually require GPAs higher than 3.5.

What grade is US history taught? ›

Thus there is a tendency throughout the country to place the formal history of the United States in Grade V. Many school systems, however, continue to teach it in Grades IV or VI.

Is AP World History for 10th graders? ›

The answer depends on the school. However, many schools offer world history in 10th grade. Students often study World History before taking AP U.S. History. Since many students take AP World History as sophomores, it may represent one of their first AP classes.

What subjects go well with history? ›

What subjects does history go with?
  • English Literature.
  • Languages.
  • Media studies.
  • Law.
  • Politics.
  • Philosophy.
  • Psychology.
  • Economics.

Is AP World History hard? ›

Is AP World History Easy Or Hard? AP World History is considered quite hard, with class alumnae rating it 6.1/10 for overall difficulty (the 10th-most-difficult out of the 28 large AP classes surveyed). The pass rate is about average vs other AP classes, with 62% graduating with a 3 or higher.

What grade should a 15 year old be in? ›

In the USA, a 14-15-year-old is usually in 9th grade or their freshman year of high school, and a 15-16-year-old is in 10th grade or their sophomore year.

What grade should a 14 year old be in? ›

Grade 9

What grade would a 15 year old be in? ›

The typical age for U.S. 9th grade students is 14 to 15 years.

How old is a 12th grader? ›

It can be called the class of seniors or the last class of the school. People in the twelfth grade are between the ages of 17 and 18.

Is AP world history a 9th grade class? ›

The College Board

Read more about prerequisites and other rules. AP Human Geography is a popular AP course for 9th grade, and AP Seminar, AP Computer Science Principles, AP European History, and AP World History are popular for 10th.

Is US history a required class in high school? ›

Requirements: Three years of social studies, including US history, is often required to graduate high school. This can be a human geography course or another introductory social studies class.

What history is taught in the 8th grade? ›

The study of history continues in the eighth grade with the colonial period in America and covers the American Revolution, the founding of the United States, the writing of the Constitution, the western expansion, the conflict with Native Americans, and the Civil War.

What do 10th graders learn? ›

10th Grade Curriculum Overview

A typical course of study for 10th grade usually includes language arts, chemistry, geometry, and world history. But it shouldn't be limited to those core 10th grade subjects. Depending on your state's laws, there may be some additional courses that you're required to cover.

What is 10th grade social studies called? ›

In the U.S. curriculum for social studies, tenth grade students are taught recent world history or American history. In some districts, Advanced Placement coursework, such as geography, European history, Global studies, or United States History.

What are the 3 C's in history? ›

The Three Cs That Made America Great: Christianity, Capitalism and the Constitution.

What are the 5 C's of history? ›

In response, we developed an approach we call the "five C's of historical thinking." The concepts of change over time, causality, context, complexity, and contingency, we believe, together describe the shared foundations of our discipline.

What are the Big 6 history? ›

Seixas and Tom Morton published a book, The Big Six: Historical Thinking Concepts, that expanded on these concepts. The six “historical thinking concepts” are: historical significance, primary source evidence, continuity and change, cause and consequence, historical perspectives and ethical dimensions.

Is a GPA of 5.0 good? ›

Typically, high schools that use weighted GPAs opt for the 0-5 scale that makes 5.0 the highest possible grade. A GPA higher than 5.0 is rare, but school point systems are occasionally structured so that students taking advanced classes can rack up bonus points.

Is a GPA of 1.0 good? ›

Is a 1.0 GPA Good? Considering the US national average GPA is a 3.0, a 1.0 is far below average. Generally, a 1.0 is considered a dismal GPA. Raising a 1.0 GPA to an acceptable number is extremely difficult, but possible with diligence and determination.

What year in high school is the hardest? ›

While junior year is often the hardest year of high school, the transition from middle school to 9th grade can also be tough. To make it easier, don't feel afraid to reach out to your teachers and counselors, and take advantage of the support resources that are available.

Do colleges prefer AP or honors? ›

Colleges like them both. Both honors and AP courses are rigorous courses that most high schools weight more heavily on your transcript. AP courses, however, culminate in the AP Exam. Good AP scores show colleges you are ready to succeed at college-level work and can even earn you college credits.

What is the hardest AP class? ›

The Three Hardest AP Classes
  1. AP Physics 1. Despite a reputation as one of the most difficult AP classes, Physics 1 is also one of the most popular—144,526 students took it in 2022. ...
  2. AP U.S. History. AP U.S. History is one of the hardest AP classes in the humanities and in general. ...
  3. AP United States Government and Politics.
Feb 9, 2023

Is 17 AP classes too much? ›

To be competitive at some of the most highly selective colleges in the country, 8-12 AP courses may be the sweet spot amount, assuming the student can handle that level of rigor. There are no colleges out there that require you to take 14, 17, or some other obscene number of Advanced Placement offerings.

What GPA is all A's in honors? ›

Do Honors Classes Boost Your Weighted GPA?
Letter GradeNumerical GradeHonors GPA
7 more rows
Apr 22, 2021

Can you get a 5.0 GPA with honors classes? ›

If your school reports GPAs on a weighted scale to benefit students who take AP® or honors classes, then an A in one of these courses would translate to a 5.0, a B' a 4.0, a C and 3.0, and so on and so forth.

Is a B+ in an honors class good? ›

The short answer is that it's better to get a "B" in the AP or Honors class because selective colleges want to see that students are challenging themselves academically, but also that they're mastering the material.

What kind of history is taught in high school? ›

A high school world history curriculum will cover the key events that impacted the history of the world from ancient times to current events. Students will examine how classical civilizations progressed, then move toward social and economic revolutions, and end with an in depth study of modern history.

What do 12th graders learn in social studies? ›

Social Studies Objectives for Twelfth Grade

Read, write, and communicate ideas about history, geography, economics, and civics. Solve problems, make decisions and analyze issues from multiple perspectives. Analyze major historical periods and how they shift over time among nations and cultures.

Is US history or World History easier? ›

To put it simply, no. Neither one is harder. I am taking AP World and I am self-studying APUSH, and both have the same grading rubric, same exam format, and same historical thinking skills. Most colleges give the same amount of credit for both.

Is a 9.8 GPA good? ›

But a GPA of 6.96 ~ 7 is Okay-ish. Average. 9-10 is brilliant. 8-9 is about average and very good.

Is 1.78 GPA bad? ›

The national average for a GPA is around 3.0 and a 1.8 GPA puts you below that average. A 1.8 GPA means that you've gotten only C-s and D+s in your high school classes so far. Since this GPA is significantly below a 2.0, it will make things very difficult for you in the college application process.

Is a 92% GPA good? ›

Contact your high school counselor or colleges on your list to learn more about GPA and use in the admissions process.
To convert your GPA to a 4.0 scale:
Letter GradePercent Grade4.0 Scale
8 more rows
Feb 23, 2023

Is regular U.S. history hard in high school? ›

AP US History (APUSH) is considered moderate difficulty, with class alumnae rating it 5.9/10 for overall difficulty (the 11th-most-difficult out of the 28 large AP classes surveyed). The pass rate is much lower than other AP classes, with 48% graduating with a 3 or higher.

Is U.S. history an AP class? ›

AP U.S. History is a challenging high school advanced placement course. The course covers centuries of material and requires sharp analysis skills.

Is U.S. history a 10th grade class? ›

United States History I for tenth graders will teach the significant events and themes of the 18th and 19th century. Students will survey the major events and movements that shaped American society from colonization through the end of Reconstruction in 1877.

How many years of history should you take in high school? ›

The California Education Code specifies minimum course requirements for the state's public school system: three years of instruction in both English and history/social science, two years in both math and science, and one year of either visual or performing arts, a foreign language, or career technical education.

Do colleges want 4 years of history? ›

What Social Studies Classes Do Colleges Require? Most competitive colleges recommend at least two to three years of high school social studies, which generally includes history as well as courses in government or civics.

What is 12th grade history? ›

Students will read primary sources and historical narratives. This course focuses on World War I, World War II, and the Cold War, with an emphasis on the causes and effects of warfare and the conflicts between communism and democracy.

Should I take 4 years of history in high school? ›

It is important for students to take four years of classes like U.S history, U.S government, economics and world history. With four years of core classes, students may find themselves overwhelmed with studying. However, they should not be discouraged. This hard work will pay off.

Do you take US history in 10th grade? ›

Social Studies

Many tenth-grade college-bound students will study United States history during their sophomore year. World history is another option. Homeschool students following a traditional curriculum will explore the Middle Ages.

How many AP classes should I take? ›

Aim for four to eight AP exams in your junior and senior years. For competitive Ivy League schools, admission officers also want to see AP courses for core subject areas and additional courses. If possible, aim to pass about seven to 12 AP exams if applying to these highly selective schools.

Is AP World History a 9th grade class? ›

The College Board

Read more about prerequisites and other rules. AP Human Geography is a popular AP course for 9th grade, and AP Seminar, AP Computer Science Principles, AP European History, and AP World History are popular for 10th.

Is a GPA of 3.8 good? ›

Is a 3.8 GPA in high school considered good? The average GPA of graduating high schoolers is 3.0, making 3.8 a definitively good GPA. It gives you a reasonable chance of acceptance at even competitive institutions, so reach as high as you can!

What year do most colleges look at? ›

Your first year and sophomore year affect your cumulative GPA, which is important to most colleges. However, a solid academic record in your junior year is likely to carry more importance with an admissions committee.

What does 11th grade US history cover? ›

Students learn about the early presidents and their effects on the United States. They study the booming 1920's, World War II, The Cold War, the culture of the 1950's, and the Vietnam War. Eleventh grade students learn about the Space Program, Presidents Ford, Carter, Reagan, and Bush, and the Gulf War.

What math do 11th graders take? ›

What Math Should an 11th Grader Know? Typically, students in grade 11 take Algebra II (if they followed the traditional course sequence: Algebra I in 9th grade, and Geometry in 10th grade). However, some students may be able to take Algebra I while still in 8th grade.


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