Wednesday, March 9, 2011

What Should I Take Next Year?

My office has recently been heavily trafficked with students.

My phone, in addition, has been burning up.

Why is this?

Academic programming.

Should I take Honors Genetics or Pre-AP Physics?

Do I have to take a fourth year of language?

Does my rising 9th grader have to take his or her fine arts classes next year?

Can my rising 9th grader double up in math?

It's my senior year, and I was hoping to try to get two "Rumsey courses" - is that possible?

What is college X going to want me to take?

Can you talk to my mom? She wants me to take at least 4 AP level courses!

These are all pertinent and pressing questions.

What is my response?

It's pretty much the same.

And that is...

It depends.

Specifically, it depends on the student.

Some students can juggle more balls than others.

Some students have a greater penchant for time management than others.

Some students (or should I say parents) are more "GPA-centric" than others.

Some students are better in history than science,

or better in math than language,

or better with paints and prints than formulas and test tubes.

Some students want a big, public university like OU.

Other students want a small, liberal arts college like William Jewell.

Some students (and parents) have lofty ambitions to attend an Ivy-caliber school.

Other students have realistic expectations about the price of an Ivy-caliber school.

Some students have dreams of mastering Mandarin Chinese and living in Shanghai.

Other students have dreams of starting a non-profit business like charity:water.

While other students have dreams of their art hanging in the Museum of Modern Art.

And on and on it goes.

It's so important through the whole process of deciding on an academic program that all parties involved keep the student at the center.

As I like to say, It's about the student, not the school.

If we keep first things first, second and third things will fall in line.

And remember - the goal with academic programming is to discern for each student what combination and level of challenge in lieu of extracurricular commitments and college ambitions gives that student the greatest chance to flourish both at Casady and beyond.