Decision Making II
Decision Making II is designed to help juniors better prepare for the important decisions they will be facing in the coming year and beyond, particularly decisions about college. The college search process is just that: a process that should be logical and timely. The first step is for the students to take a critical look at themselves:
• What are my major interests, my values, strengths and weaknesses both academically and in extracurricular activities?
• How do I learn best?
• What kind of academic environment might best suit my learning style?
• How do these factors and other influences affect the way I make decisions?
The next step is to know their options:
• What are the advantages and disadvantages of a large university, a small college, an urban or rural school?
• Why would one person who wants art (or any other “specialty”) go to an art school and another go to a liberal arts college with a strong art department?
• What is a liberal arts college?
• What kind of curriculum do different colleges have, and why would one “fit” me better than another?
Only when a student has investigated herself well and has learned about her options can she begin to make good choices about the next step in her education. Speakers from colleges are brought in for a number of classes. By February of junior year when they have results of their PSAT scores and first semester grades, students will be working with the college counselors to create a preliminary list of colleges to investigate more deeply. By the end of the year they will have completed an application and will have a more focused list.
The added benefit of this course is that the College Counselors teach it and get to know the students as they are getting to know themselves; thus, they are better able to guide them through the maze of the college admission process.
TransitionsTransitions is a class for seniors. The first semester begins with the "nuts and bolts" of completing an application, stressing the importance of deadlines, well-written essays, and appropriate recommendations. In addition the course helps seniors make the adjustment to being the leaders and role models of the student body by focusing on time management, stress reduction skills, understanding risk taking, and coping with the uncertainty that surrounds the college application process. The second semester focuses more on the move away from Garrison Forest and making the transition to college. Topics include such issues as roommate mediation, financial responsibility, and making use of the resources on a college campus. Current GFS alumnae are often asked to share their experiences in the transition.