The K-12 is a relatively new program here in the Philippines if you compare it with our neighboring countries. For students to move into college or the university level, they must undergo junior (Grades 7-10) and senior (Grades 11-12) high school level to be given a diploma. A certification is given during junior level but finishing senior high level certifies and validates that a student is qualified for college.
Going into senior high school, students must choose a strand and track they would like to take for the next two years in their senior high school life. There are different strands and tracks students can choose from which can also help them choose a course they might want to take in college. Given that this is a big decision, a lot of thinking must be done when deciding. Here is a basic guide that can help you choose the right academic track and strand
K to 12 Tracks and Strands
As of 2018, there are four tracks in senior high school, namely: academic track, technical-vocational-livelihood track, arts, and design track, and lastly, sports track. Let us first discuss the Academic Track.
The Academic Track is for those who have already and surely decided to pursue a college education after senior high school; basically, it helps you in your journey going to college because of its subject specialization. Under this track there are four strands you choose from:
- HUMMS– First is the Humanities and Social Sciences or HUMSS. HUMSS is the strand for students who wish to go into college with the following courses: Political Science or International Studies, English or Filipino Literature, Mass Communication, Education, Performing Arts, and other related courses.
- STEM– The next strand is the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math track, also known as STEM. STEM is the strand for students who wish to go into college with the following courses: Biology, Physics, Mathematics, Engineering, Computer Studies, Information Technology, and so on and forth on the related courses. This strand is a very hands-on type of experience that would be good for students who have firmly decided on their future college courses and profession.
- ABM– The third is the Accounting Business and Management or ABM. ABM is the strand for students who wish to go into college with the following courses: Human Resource, Tourism, Hotel and Restaurant Management, Accounting, Business Studies, Marketing, Real Estate, Export Management, Entrepreneurship, and other related courses in this path. This is definitely a suggested strand for those who have their eyes set on creating a business in the future or working in the business sector.
- GAS– And the last strand in the Academic track is the General Academic Strand or GAS. Now if you have some uncertainty or confusion in your mind on what specific path you would want to take, then GAS is the strand offered in this track. What makes this good is that the courses offered here are encompassing; meaning in all fields. The things that one can learn in this can help your uncertain mind explore your possible college options. To simply put, this strand is for all college courses.
Our next track is the Technical-Vocational-Livelihood Track. The subjects on this track focus on practical knowledge and job-ready training. Once you take and finish a strand on this track, you will be given the TESDA National Certificate. If your goal is to work immediately or be eligible for certified jobs after senior high school, this track is perfect for you. Finishing any strand from this track gives you skills that are considered and accepted to qualify you for work. There are also four strands on this:
- Agri-Fishery Arts Strand– The first strand under the TVL Track is the Agri-Fishery Arts Strand. The skills taught here are those that can be used in the agriculture and aquaculture field. Examples of lessons to be learned are rubber production, food processing, and such.
- Home Economics Strand– It focuses on teaching you skills that can be useful in livelihood projects. Professions that can be considered after taking this stand are stylists, makeup artists, tour guides, baristas, bakers, etc.
- Industrial Arts Strand– The third strand is the Industrial Arts Strand. When you want to know about carpentry, electrical repairs, driving, and welding, the Industrial Arts strand offers a good curriculum.
- ICT Strand– Lastly, the Information and Communications Technology Strand, basically if you are tech and computer-savvy then you’d love this strand. Professions that can be considered after this strand is graphic designer, encoder, web developer and designer, call center agent, sales agent, and such.
Arts and Design Track
The next track is the Arts and Designs Track. It provides students the know-how on the different arts and design forms, materials, media, and production in the creative industries. If you think you would want to have a job in the art field, this track is good. It has a curriculum catered to enhance and encourage your creativity. It is a good platform to express yourself. Concepts around the globe will be taught to you to make you more immersed and competitive in this field. If your interest falls under music, theatres arts, photography, fashion design, and such, this is the advisable track for you.
And the last track is the Sports Track. If you excel in sports, whatever it may be, then you would enjoy it here. You will be able to learn concepts on positive attitude, teamwork, and competitiveness because this teaches you about how sports management and leadership work in this type of setting. There will be subjects on human anatomy and physiology, plus you will also learn first aid. Whether or not your end goal is to become a professional athlete, trainer, P.E. teacher, instructor, game officials, or anything under the field of sports, the Sports track has a curriculum that equips you with the knowledge you would need to prepare you for the future.
Which Track is Best for You?
Now that you’ve been given a broad overview of the tracks offered in senior high school, it is time to get into the process of decision-making. What track would you want to take? To help you in this, ask yourself the important questions. You may ask yourself the following questions:
“What are the subjects do I excel at and enjoy?”
Look back at the past few years you’ve had in junior high school and try to determine which subjects were you good at and liked. By doing so, you can have a clearer image of what field you’d want to work in and possibly, what specific profession or job you see yourself taking. For example, if numbers and computing is a forte of yours, then you might want to consider taking STEM.
“How do I spend my free time?”
Your most liked subjects are not your only determinants. Think about what is it that you do when you have some free time on your hands. Your interests and hobbies can also help in deciding what track and strand would suit you best. You can be into sports, arts, music, inventing, and many more. These things you do during your free time might actually be what you might want to do professionally in the future. As bizarre as this sounds, by connecting your interests and hobbies to your decision, you’ll have an easier time choosing. And you are sure to find a track where your interests fit in.
“What do I want to be when I grow up?”
The most commonly asked question to any child, teenager, and adolescent. Not all adolescents have a direct and specified answer to this question which is okay; some people just need more time to discover their passion and their vision in life. But if you do have an answer to it, may it be a specific position/job or at least a field you want to work in, consider that when choosing your track and strand. Ultimately, the desired outcome is that your strand will be the bridge to your college course and eventually your profession.
“Have I done my research?”
Knowing yourself is good and all that but if you aren’t knowledgeable of what each track and strand entails and offers, then there is a chance you might miss out on the best track and strand for you. Read about the course outline or content of the strand and track you’ve shortlisted. Do your research so that you have a well backed-up-with-information decision.
“Have I tried asking for help?”
It’s always nice to seek out advice or opinions from different people, not just your parents and friends. Asking for opinions can help you determine the track that suits you. Ask those who already graduated from senior high school, they can provide you with very useful insights that will be of major aid to you. This would help you broaden your perspective on each choice but slowly zooming in with the top choices you have and easily listing down your likes and dislikes, and the pros and cons of each strand and track.
Now you are equipped with the information you would need in making an important decision. The next step is to decide and prepare yourself as you move forward to another stage in your life.