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Learn ahead in high school

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High school is a good time to learn a large range of academic material that is relevant to:

  1. Being academically prepared for future careers
  2. Being academically prepared for college (see college statements on the importance of grades and coursework)
  3. Improving one's college admissions prospects (see signaling quality to colleges and college statements on the importance of grades and coursework)

(1) and (2) are human capital-type reasons: they directly involve the use in later life of material you learned in high school. (3) is a signaling-type reason: it involves using high school performance to convince others (in this case, college admissions officers) of one's potential.

Generally, it is unlikely that the mode and pace of education in high school is optimal. For those subjects that are important to learn, we recommend trying to learn them on one's own, either in parallel or in advance of their being covered in school.