Choosing a Concentration
The systematic concentration selection process occurs in the ninth grade Biblical Studies class. The overall topic studied in ninth grade is “Discovering My Identity and Calling.” During several weeks early in the second semester, students are led through a series of activities designed to answer the questions of “What do I like? What are my strengths?”
The process begins with each student going through a guided reflection on the fall testing results. We look at two descriptions of career preference that are part of the fall testing package (the ACT World of Work map and Holland Career Types). Students then work through a series of online assessments that are part of our Naviance college planning portal (the “Career Interest Profiler,” “Career Cluster Finder,” “Strengths Explorer,” and “Do What You Are”). At each step of the process, students reflect on the results and share what they are learning with their parents. The classroom teacher, provost, counselors, and deans all work with the students to develop a deep understanding about themselves.
After studying all of their results, students select the concentration that seems to fit them best. The deans meet with the students, answer their questions, and begin planning courses and activities for the next year. The selection process culminates at “Ignite,” our inspirational evening program in which we welcome students into their concentration in the presence of their families and other significant adults.
Because we embrace the importance of “ruling out” possibilities, a student’s concentration is not permanent for the rest of high school. After a year in a concentration, a student may come to the realization that a particular career path is not the right fit for them. We see this as very positive—we’ve ruled out a possibility and we’ve done that in high school, not in college where changing a major can have major time and tuition implications. The requirement to switch concentrations is merely that the student shares their reflection on why they think a change is appropriate. We want to develop the mindset of constant analysis and reflection and the skill set of being able to adjust to changes while utilizing all of our previous experiences.