Will I Get Credit for 8th Grade Algebra and Spanish?

Question: I am in eighth grade and taking both Spanish and Algebra. I am pretty concerned about high school and college already. Do these classes count as high school credits if I take them both every day for a year?

In most cases, you will earn high school credits for an 8th grade algebra class. The answer to your question about Spanish, however, is murkier because foreign language polices can vary a lot from school to school. For instance, my own son, who took Spanish in both 7th and 8th grades, got one high school credit for the two years combined. So when he entered 9th grade, he went straight into Spanish 2. But his friends who took Latin in 7th and 8th grade earned TWO credits in middle school and started high school in Latin 3. So you should speak to a guidance counselor at your current school to ask how your middle-school Spanish credit will be viewed at the high school. At the same time, you can double-check on the algebra credit as well. Also ask your counselor about how your middle school grades in these classes will be treated. Commonly, students receive credit for their middle school math and language classes, but the grades they earned are not factored into the high school GPA. Sometimes, however, these grades do appear on the high school transcript even when they aren't counted in the GPA (although the college folks pay little attention to middle school grades). Thus, if you want to know what will happen with not only your credits but also with your grades, talk to the counselor now.

I hope that helps, and I also hope that you can find a balance between making wise choices that affect your future plans but also not allowing yourself to become overwhelmed with worry as you begin your high school years. Get involved in activities that you do just because you love them and–if you're interested in college already–poke around in guide books and on Web sites to find at least a couple places that aren't hard to get into but offer some cool-sounding majors and programs that might even seem more enticing that those at the most sought-after schools. For instance, check out College Confidential's SuperMatch:

On the left-hand menu, look for the “Majors" tab. Enter the name of something you're interested in right now … e.g., animals, television, sports, crafts, Spanish, writing … and then look at the list of majors that follows. You probably already know that you can major in “Biology" or “English." But did you realize that some colleges have majors in “Animal Assisted Therapy" or in “Playwriting and Screenwriting"? And the most selective colleges and universities often offer the most traditional, predictable majors. So if, as an 8th grader, you hone in on a couple majors that excite you and that are found at colleges that don't require killer grades and resumes, you may find that you can approach high school with more enthusiasm than anxiety.