At Novella Prep, our goal is to contribute to developing a healthy child who finds balance and preparedness for higher education and life. In the process, we support the opportunity to grow, to become more informed and self-aware, and to cultivate personal agency. It is important to plan for the future, to be “forward looking” as your child progresses from middle school to high school and beyond. It is a false assumption to think that by avoiding or postponing discussions about future plans and ideas such as college and career, that stress is reduced and that there is plenty of time and few consequences to delaying decisions such as appropriate course sequencing or preparing for standardized tests. We think these discussions and decisions are important and that students should be self-aware and prepared, and if they are, they will be ready to move forward with life.
Students need to understand what their talents are, what interests them, what they’re good at. They can use their interests as a lens to explore the world. It’s important for the student to explore, determine, and practice their potential direction in life. They should try out and identify areas of interest and skill, which probably will evolve and may change over time. Students need to understand what captivates and drives their creativity and sustains their interests. It’s important for parents to support these trials, help their child explore these experiential practices, and help illuminate fields of study and career choices that may be found down the road. Some examples might include encouraging further reading in subject matter of interests or weekend field trips to experience first hand how things work in an area of interest.
All of this gives the child permission and encourages them to be self-aware. That is, they can begin understanding who they are and where their interests and skills lie. This helps them to begin to frame out a cognitive ground for who they are, a start from which their interests and ultimately college and career choices may proceed.
Self-awareness at this age begins to close the door to early childhood and opens the door to maturity and critical thinking. This doesn’t mean we leave behind fun and creative thinking. We just encourage critical thinking in the child so that their level of personal agency is enhanced.
From the middle grades into high school, the student and parent need to start thinking about course sequencing, test preparation, study skills, executive functioning skills, and consider these things according to the student’s blossoming awareness of interests and skills. It’s like a dance between the parent and the student where the student supplies the interests and provides the framework to grow and explore. The end game is that by the time the student graduates from high school they find themselves confident in their interests and burgeoning abilities, as well as having completed the appropriate coursework to launch them successfully as a first year college student.
Alternately, the unprepared student in their senior high school year may only have a vague notion of their interests, lack study skills, executive functioning skills, critical thinking, appropriate foundational coursework, and thus have a sense of being adrift, untethered to a sense of life’s goals. In a sense, they may be wholly unprepared to be a mature, accountable, first year college student.
To prepare, the parent has to encourage self-awareness and for the student to be prepared, the parent has to provide the framework. This is outside of the classroom and is important for student success. Specifically, providing support for executive functioning, study skills, sleep habits, college planning, test preparation, and most importantly personal self-awareness is essential. The students should know themselves, know what they want, and know what their strengths are. The after-classroom academic work is inherently self-directed and experiential. With parental support, the student builds personal agency and academic knowledge. They are better organized and become proficient learners through this framework of success.
The first year college student needs critical thinking, a sense of organization, to be well socialized, to have developed grit, and to have a sense of their interests. They need a developed sense of values of what’s important to them and what’s important in their lives.
Parents of middle school or high school students, backing into this first year student experience, should reflect if their child chose the right courses, explored their interests, developed critical thinking, developed strong study skills, and possess strong executive functioning skills. You get the picture, the successful first year student does not arrive at college wholly ready without preparation. The parent supports the child in rounding out the in-classroom experience with an experiential framework for success in college and life.
Novella Prep partners with students and their families to help students become self-aware, prepared, and ready to move forward with next steps in their lives. Novella Prep motivates and teaches students how to achieve their academic potential with refined and healthy study habits and strong executive functioning skills. It provides a deep dive into helping students perform at their best by starting from the inside. Novella Prep’s proven holistic method empowers students to be the author of their own plan.