Advisor advises on course selection – Mill Valley News

JagWire: First question: What advice would you give to students who are unsure about certain courses?

Advisor Chris Wallace: I think the first thing is to focus on the completion points. What do you need to earn your diploma and specialize in these areas and choose really good options to meet the Fine Arts, Technology and Communications credits in some of these categories? The second thing would be to talk to teachers and use some of the resources on the site as well as just talking to the teachers who teach some of the classes you may have questions about to try and get an idea if There are some good options, and then come and talk to us consultants. We’re no experts, but we definitely know a lot about courses. We don’t know everything about courses, but we certainly work to some degree with every course offered here in Mill Valley. So we are kind of a good database of information that can help students identify options that are a good fit based on their interests.

JW: Do you think it’s better to take a tougher class like Honors or AP and do a bad job, or take an easier class and get better grades?

CW: That’s a million dollar question by definition, because what is it? The costs and benefits of both are difficult to predict and anticipate. Kansas University and Kansas State have both moved away from counting test scores for scholarship purposes. Knowing that this is the case, special attention needs to be paid to the GPA as it is one of the criteria they use for considering scholarships. So if the risk is related to grades, meaning you’re more likely to get a lower grade on a harder course, then it might be beneficial to try to protect your grade point average a bit and look at some easier options. For example if it is time related I may need to spend more time working on the scores but if you are still confident that you can get an A I would always lean towards taking the more challenging course. The preparation that comes from taking part in these challenging offerings to prepare for college or future opportunities is far more beneficial than not.

JW: What types of students would you recommend for CTEC? And what types of students usually apply?

CW: What I to know [is that] CTEC is doing a great job in terms of its industry leading capabilities. So that means you’re not really there to just try something. Yes, you’re trying new courses and doing new things that you probably don’t have much experience with; But the kind of experiences you have are very reminiscent of the things you will do on a professional level. You get extensive hands-on experience that can then be directly related to jobs that use this technology and do these types of things at work. So I think the students who are best suited for CTEC are the ones who are very career oriented, who are thinking about their life as a professional, who are really motivated and eager to gain professional experiences like internships and shadow jobs and so on look like this, and just want to take advantage of the opportunities now rather than waiting much later to explore these areas.

JW: So, one would say that CTEC is much more focused on certain areas, while Mill Valley courses may not be as focused.

CW: Yes, in general, CTEC offers these three strands that have very specific career applications for them. These are not really broad courses that can be applied to many different areas. Let’s take engineering for example. Engineering is part of the emerging technology strand at CTEC. There are engineers in countless different industries, tons and tons and tons from software to aerospace to technology to computers. The list goes on and on, but taking an engineering course prepares you for engineering jobs.

JW:If a course is not necessary to a student’s future career path, should they bother taking that course?

CW: One of the selection criteria to see is that you are there and it aligns with career paths and interests based on your individual study plan. So that is actually an application criterion for CTEC that you are interested in it and that it suits you well based on your skills and preferences. So in general I would say that it is important that the students who choose this elective not only have a passion for this subject, but also have realistic possibilities to deal with it professionally later on.

JW: When should someone consider duplicating classes, say, taking AP Chemistry and AP Physics at the same time?

Wallace: I think anytime you get interested in an area of ​​interest or something you’re passionate about, the opportunity to take more courses in it is always a good thing. For a band student who is in a concert band or symphonic band and wants to play jazz band, this is a great opportunity; but if a student knows that something science related is in their future and they have a passion for it, well why not take several science courses, especially if you have the time that you can devote to both subjects. However, if you add severity just for the sake of it[working] ahead or [expediting] the process or something is in no hurry. You have four years. I would advise spreading out the rigor as evenly as possible and making sure you are in quality courses from your freshman year to your final year rather than just trying to load up on a year.

JW: What then is the purpose of an AP course? And what is the difference between an AP course and a regular course?

CW: Much of this can be found in our class comparison charts that we have on the site advice page. The basic idea is that the AP courses are taught at the collegiate level and give students the opportunity to build some of those skills that translate directly to things they would need at the college level.

JW:What do you think colleges look for when students apply based on the classes and courses they choose?

CW: The most important aspect that we keep hearing is [colleges] want diverse students. We definitely want students to take rigorous courses and challenge themselves and build their academic resume as much as possible. In addition, we would also like to encourage students to get involved, be it with community service or volunteer work with part-time jobs and get involved in this way. Also, build work experience with internships, sports and activities, clubs and organizations to create a resume or portfolio that shows you are a well-rounded person. Nowadays, the professions are much more intertwined and the skills you need for a specific field of work often have many similarities to other fields. [Applying to colleges is] It’s all about building a well-rounded portfolio of things you can expose yourself to so that you can transition to college and into the workforce with a well-rounded set of skills to help you through those transitions.

JW:Based on schedules, what goes into the college advisors who create schedules for students?

CW: We have our deadline [for when student class election is due]. When the deadline comes, we fill in all the course information, everything the students request will be uploaded. We also keep the numbers: How many students are requesting certain courses? Based on this breakdown, we create our master plan, which is literally: How many math teachers do we have? How many sections of each math class and how many hours are they taught so we can try to accommodate all requests at as much a level as possible? If there’s a course and only one student is applied for in the student body, that’s almost not going to be an option for the coming year, but if we get enough participants in the class then we’ll do everything we can to try and get that schedule somewhere, so that these students can take this course. Once we create this master plan, Skyward runs the system and maps all of these quote requests to their respective blocks. After that we go in and clean up any mistakes or errors. We have to finish or repair things that are full and then go to these alternative options and fill in the missing parts in this way.

JW: Finally, is there anything else you would like to add?

CW: A few things: The most important thing students need to do is meet the deadline. However, you don’t have to be too early with this process. There is no advantage or benefit in handing in your course guide the minute after we have given you this information. If anything, that’s not the advice we would offer. We encourage you to take the time to have conversations with your parents and your teachers, and really make sure you’re making the right decisions. So that we reduce the amount of changes and bugs and things that we have to clean up later. Because we actually find that the students who rush through it and turn it in are the ones who have to come back later. This is a case where being patient and actually processing things a bit more is to your advantage as opposed to your disadvantage. We don’t do first come, first served; It’s sheer luck of the draw based on what Skyward assigns. Beyond that, as I said before, the only way to ensure you make your choice is to make your choice[course guide] there in time. The sooner you know your future college or degree or career options you want to pursue, the easier it can be to tailor your high school schedule to planning and preparing for those opportunities. We don’t want to pressure students into making life-changing decisions if they aren’t ready to make them. It’s okay if you still don’t know what you want to do when you grow up, but if you can start formulating those plans it can often work to your advantage when it comes to things like course selection, because now you have a guide to courses to gain experience before going to college. Again, everyone is at a different stage of life during this time and there is no pressure, rush or urgency to find out everything. However, remember that the sooner you can simplify the whole process, start brainstorming.

JW: And as always, students can contact the study advisors at any time if they have any questions?

CW: Yes, we are always happy to try to help.

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