The Student Newspaper of Poly Prep Country Day School

The Polygon

The Student Newspaper of Poly Prep Country Day School

The Polygon

The Student Newspaper of Poly Prep Country Day School

The Polygon

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The Devil’s Advocate March 2024

Dear Devil’s Advocate,

I know that Poly has so many great courses to offer. The list is almost overwhelming, and there are so many courses I want to take. At the same time, I need to make sure I’m meeting all of the requirements. As spring starts and course registration appears on the horizon, how do I balance taking the courses I’m interested in with taking the ones I need to graduate? 


Stressed Scheduler


Dear Stressed Scheduler,

Choosing what you’re going to take next year can be intimidating, exciting, and frustrating. There are so many courses — from Data Science to Latin Poetry and Prose, Modernism to Law and Jurisprudence —  and so many buckets to fill. As second-semester seniors, we’ve been through the whole range of course selection and add/drop drama, so we have some advice on how to navigate the process. That being said, we’re not scheduling experts, so our main piece of advice is to talk to your dean. The dean system is present for circumstances like these. They certainly will not let you graduate without all those US History and arts requirements filled. So take advantage of the system, and if you’re ever unsure, check in with a dean.

To choose courses, our usual first step is to read through the course guide and take note of everything that’s remotely interesting to you. Don’t worry about the details; just have fun seeing what’s out there. Then, go back through your list and cut it down to your actual top choices. Talk to friends who have taken a class before to get their thoughts on it, read the course description in-depth, and think about if you click with the teaching style. This is also the time to think about how your classes are going to work together. Are you taking a lot of advanced classes one semester, but not the next? Make sure you have the time and energy to give each class the focus it deserves instead of stretching yourself too thin. Are you leaving yourself room for a free if you need one? Free periods are certainly not a reflection of laziness or slacking. It’s completely human to need a break during the day, whether it’s to kick back in the student center or grind out an English paper. With all the tasks high school students already have to juggle, it’s cruel to not give yourself a break. Finally, remember that you have four years of high school. You don’t need to fit everything into one semester, and, if you end up not getting placed into that elective you really wanted, just keep in mind that you can sign up for it again next year, with the higher priority in registration that seniority gives you. 

Then, the requirements come in. You’re always going to have to take Math and English, so there’s no way out of those, but the rest is more flexible than you may think. Here’s a cheat sheet:


History Science Language Arts Computer Science
SIX semesters (TWO must be US History) SIX semesters SIX consecutive semesters of the same language with Level III completion FIVE semesters (ONE must include a public speaking course) TWO semesters, including Introduction to Computer Science Principles


HISTORY: SIX semesters (TWO must be US History). 

SCIENCE: SIX semesters. 

LANGUAGE: SIX consecutive semesters of the same language with Level III completion. 

ARTS: FIVE semesters (ONE must include a public speaking course) 

COMPUTER SCIENCE: TWO semesters including Introduction to Computer Science Principles. 


And for the arts pathways…

MULTIDISCIPLINARY ARTS: Students enroll in one-semester courses in Visual Arts, Music (or year-long music ensemble), and Speech/Acting/Debate combined with one year of additional electives in any discipline

PERFORMING ARTS: Students enroll in two years of courses in their emphasis area (Dance, Drama, or Music) and one semester of Visual Arts

VISUAL ARTS: Students enroll in two years of courses in their emphasis area and one semester of either Music or Speech/Acting


Once again, if you’re ever confused about your requirements, consult a dean. This year as you go through the registration process, keep our advice in mind and consult this sheet, and you’ll take your scheduling from hell to heaven!



The Devil’s Advocate


The Devil’s Advocate is the Polygon’s advice column. Need advice? Write [email protected] a letter explaining your problem and we’ll publish it anonymously with advice from the Devil’s Advocate.


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About the Contributors
William Ling-Regan
William Ling-Regan, Opinions Editor
Throughout his time at the Polygon, William has served as the Photography Editor, the Features Editor, and, this year, as the Opinions Editor. He has enjoyed writing articles about everything from changes to Poly’s motto to the quails raised at the Lower School, but his favorite is the advice column he co-writes, the Devil’s Advocate. In addition to being a Polygon editor, William co-leads History Club, Student Service Board, Asia Society, the Crew Team, and Blue Key, and is a Vice President of Model UN and a peer tutor. Outside of school, William enjoys reading, hiking, and spending time with his friends and family.
Eleanor Brown
Eleanor Brown is the current Features Editor for the Polygon. She began writing articles since her sophomore year, and served as the Features Editor as a junior. Her passion for journalism often leans creative, as she particularly enjoys profile writing and, of course, co-writing the Devil’s Advocate, the school advice column. In addition to her time on the Polygon, Eleanor co-founded The Poly Record, Poly’s literary magazine and co-leads Women’s Affinity. Outside of school, she enjoys tutoring and playing piano, sitting on Ticketmaster presale lines, and making lists upon lists of restaurants in her Notes app.

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