How to Choose CSEC & CAPE Subjects with College On Your Mind

It's back to school time! So no better time than now to make sure you're on track for college application success.

One of the number one challenges Caribbean students face is misalignment of their own subject choices with US university expectations and preferences. US colleges expect incoming students to be prepared with what we call "core subjects" of English, Math, Social Science, Natural Science, and Foreign Language.

Unlike the US system, the Caribbean education system allows students to choose subjects in 3rd form and the US college prep core is not mandatory. Any subject area outside of core subjects is considered an "elective". Subject areas like Management of Business (MOB), Principles of Accounting (POA) and even Information Technology (IT) are not considered core subjects in the US college process, because these are all subject areas that will be more or less taught from scratch at the collegiate level.

We've seen students, with dreams of studying in the US and receiving a scholarship to do so, who have only done 2 of the 5 core (English and Math) and have stacked themselves with up to 6 electives including business, accounts, IT, EDPM, etc.

The truth simply is that US colleges don't expect high school students to come to them knowing business or computer science or sociology (and there is no undergrad Law in the US) if you want to major in any of those areas. Nothing is wrong with a few electives, but not at the expense of core subjects if you're trying to create a competitive application for US universities.

For CSEC, CAPE and IB the advice still stands – try to stick to the core as much as possible!

One bonus of this is that many colleges provide credit for students who do well in the CAPE and IB exams, which can shave up to a year and a half off the time it takes to complete the 4 year degree.

- CSEC English Language
- CSEC English Literature
- CAPE Literatures in English
- CSEC Mathematics
- CSEC Additional Mathematics
- CAPE Pure Mathematics
- CAPE Applied Mathematics
- CAPE Integrated Mathematics
- CSEC / CAPE Biology*
- CSEC / CAPE Chemistry
- CSEC / CAPE Physics
- CAPE Environmental Science
*Human Social Biology (HSB) is considered an elective by most US colleges.
- CSEC / CAPE Caribbean History
- CSEC / CAPE Geography
- CSEC Social Studies
- CAPE Caribbean Studies
- CSEC / CAPE Spanish
- CSEC / CAPE French
- CSEC Portuguese
If you'd like to discuss your subject selection, you can always meet with one of our AIM expert counselors to give you the best subject selection strategy that takes into consideration your career and personal goals!
Author: AIM Online Academy
AIM Online Academy (was AIM Educational Services) is the leading college prep provider in Jamaica, that helps students maximize their potential as they make the journey towards college in the US, UK and Canada. For over a decade, AIM's team of College Experts & Essay Coaches have assisted students from all over the Caribbean, the USA and Canada get into the college of their dreams with enough scholarship and financial aid to actually attend.

You can find out more about how AIM Online Academy can help YOU here:

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