The latter part of the school year is devoted primarily to career exploration and college guidance, during which time stress is placed on helping each junior analyze his own strengths, weaknesses, and preferences, and points directly toward the eventual identification of a suitable match between himself and a given college or university. The student is provided a comprehensive overview of the college research, selection, and application process—all in an effort to equip him with the tools needed to make well-informed college choices.
Over the year’s duration, the student is challenged to examine all of his future options within the context of what he comes to see as his own personal values. He is called upon first to identify and understand the roots of his assumptions and beliefs, and then to test his convictions against reality, carefully measuring and balancing them with the need for flexibility and openness in heart and mind. He is urged to take an active role in shaping the various communities of which he is a part, and is reassured that it is better to risk failure in pursuit of the good than to accept mediocrity with self-satisfaction or to observe injustice with passivity and resignation.
In September, each junior is assigned a guidance counselor with whom he works throughout the entire year. At the end of January, he also begins meeting with a college advisor, who follows him into senior year and at that time assumes both guidance counselor and college advisor responsibilities. Scheduled weekly classes meet in full advisor size throughout the year. Virtually all such sessions are informational, with significant opportunities for activities and discussion. Over the year’s course, each junior meets privately with both his guidance counselor (typically, once a trimester) and his college advisor (typically, three times during the third trimester).
Topics treated in the junior group sessions include the following:
? Introduction to the Goals and Structure of Junior Year Guidance ? Planning, Organization, and Study Skills ? Values Clarification ? Moral Reasoning ? Self-Esteem ? Realistic Self-Assessment ? Grades and Standardized Testing ? Drug and Alcohol Use ? Career Exploration ? Coping Strategies for Stress and Grief ? Orientation to College Guidance ? Understanding College Choices
? College Applications: Standardized Tests ? College Applications: The College Essay ? Financial Aid Fundamentals ? College Fairs and Visits ? Career Interests, College Choices and Decision-Making ? How Colleges Make Their Decisions ? Overview of Tasks: The Summer and Senior Year
No texts are used for Guidance, but handouts, activity sheets, worksheets and pamphlets are distributed in conjunction with group sessions. In January an academic/occupational interest inventory is completed by each junior.
Parents are encouraged to call the guidance counselor or the college advisor at (212) 288-1545 to discuss matters of concern that they believe would be important for the counselors to know.
JUNIOR YEAR GUIDANCE: OVERVIEW OF GROUP SESSIONS
SESSION 1: Introduction
The opening session is devoted to an explanation of the structure and goals of the Junior Year Guidance curriculum. Points highlighted include the differences in format and group size relative to the first two years of the program, the unique challenges posed by the junior year academic program, and the responsibilities juniors bear as active leaders within the school.
SESSIONS 2 & 3: Planning, Organization, and Study Skills
Students are asked to complete departmental information forms and to identify goals for the year. Part of both sessions is given over to considerations of time management and organization, especially in the context of the formidable junior year academic workload. Students are re-introduced to the Regis Planner and are shown how to use it as a “planbook” rather than an assignment pad. Session 3 provides brief preparation for the upcoming PSAT, a broad introduction to standardized testing in general (and to preparation courses in particular), and discussion of the value and meaning of extracurricular activities, honorific programs, and other criteria useful in evaluating a student’s potential contribution to his future academic community.
SESSION 4: Transcript Interpretation
To demystify grades and their implications, students are shown a variety of sample junior year transcripts and guided through their careful analysis. The intent is that by understanding how records are read and interpreted, they will be made to feel more confident in and realistic about their own performance histories, and be inspired to make choices, while there is still time to do so, that better equip them to present themselves at points in the future.
SESSIONS 5 & 6: Moral Reasoning: Decision-Making in a Values Context
This session focuses on the role of moral and ethical thinking in the life of the individual. Through a set of structured exercises and discussion, students are asked to identify what “values” are, their likely sources, and the ones they themselves hold most dear. They are then called upon to examine situations entailing moral dilemmas (where two or more values come into direct conflict) that may challenge preconceived ideas about ethical decision-making.
SESSION 7: Study Skills for College
Timed roughly to coincide with the issuance of first trimester Progress Reports, this session invites students to reflect upon certain of their own work patterns that may be either lending to or thwarting achievement of their personal academic goals. Study strategies known to be especially counterproductive at the college level (and hence, in the upper years at Regis) are highlighted both in print articles and in group discussion. Emphasis is placed on using the time still available to them in high school to form lasting habits that will serve students in good stead when they move on to higher level studies.
SESSIONS 8 & 9: Self-Esteem and Realistic Self-Assessment
This session summons students to provide examples of how interactions with others can influence self-perception, especially during childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood. These are then used to illuminate personal attributes students believe to be valued by our culture. Internal and external self-worth are examined as potentially conflicting influences on the picture that students have of themselves. Through a sequenced series of exercises explicitly calling upon them to look at themselves from multiple points of view, students are brought to create a brief, but realistic inventory of their strengths and weaknesses, and to practice the public representation of these in a prose format that while abbreviated, is similar to what will be required in portraying themselves to the colleges.
SESSION 10: Standardized Testing and Related Issues
Timed roughly to coincide with the arrival of students’ PSAT scores, this session aims to help students achieve a balanced perspective on standardized test results. Topics treated include test preparation courses, SAT Reasoning Test registration for the spring, and SAT Subject Test registration for June.
SESSION 11: Daytop Village Presentation and Follow-up Evaluation/Discussion
Counselors and participants from the Daytop Village program come to the school to conduct a large group assembly presentation (60 minutes with the full year) and ten advisor group discussion sessions (40 minutes with approximately 13 juniors). The former meetings provide an opportunity for the speakers to introduce themselves and narrate their personal histories of substance abuse and eventual recovery; the latter allow students both to ask questions and to describe and reflect upon the substance use culture at Regis. In the regularly scheduled class meeting, students are asked to provide a written evaluation of this event and to discuss related questions or issues that may yet remain on their minds. They are supplied print materials emphasizing relatively fresh research findings and underscoring the neurological and other health consequences of adolescent substance use.
SESSION 12: First Trimester Self-Assessment
Students are given class time to review their progress on goals they set for themselves back at the year’s start, and then to work on completing a comprehensive First Trimester Assessment form. The latter is a substantial departmental document calling upon them to evaluate how the first trimester went academically, extracurricularly, and personally (emotionally, socially, and religiously); how much they are enjoying each of their specific junior year courses, and why; and what “insider tips” they would offer other students who were about to embark upon the self-same curriculum.
SESSION 13: Looking Ahead to Practical Matters
This session looks ahead to a variety of upcoming events. First, students are asked to consider how they will prepare for the Physics mid-year examination (and if advisable, are encouraged to put the Christmas Recess to particular advantage in that regard). Second, they are guided through their options for taking AP exams (European History, English, and Calc AB) in May, and helped to sharpen their perspective on the costs and benefits of such examinations. Finally, they are supplied preliminary information on a Career Night that will require their attendance in March.
SESSIONS 14 & 15: Administration of and Follow-up to The Major-Minor Finder
Students are supplied class time to complete The Major-Minor Finder, a substantial college-to-career planning instrument. Using the results obtained, they then investigate prospective jobs and occupations as outlined and described in resources that are available both on-line and in print (including The Occupational Outlook Handbook, The Dictionary of Occupational Titles, and other texts housed in the College Guidance Resource Center).
SESSION 16: Coping Strategies for Stress and Grief
In this session, students are called upon to identify some of the typical causes of stress and describe signal emotional and physical behaviors/responses expected as consequences. They are then invited to review possible coping strategies for use in stressful situations. Students are broadly familiarized with the common stages of grief after a profoundly painful loss. (Session 16 takes place only if the schedule allows.)