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The Importance of Course Counselling – Jennifer Oaten

The Importance of Course Counselling – Jennifer Oaten

As a student, I remember choosing my subjects for Year 11. I chose English, Maths I, Human Biology, Physics, Chemistry and Geography. We also studied Religion. I was fortunate that I loved Sciences and so my choices were not too difficult. Our courses were two years long, so no changes could be made.

Today our students have many more subjects to choose from (26 ATAR courses and 13 General Courses), a fantastic array of Work Placements and Certificate Courses in the ACCESS Pathway, and the option of 5 subjects in Year 12. For some students, choosing or changing pathways and courses is a great challenge, while others will know immediately which subjects they wish to pursue in their final years at the College.

So how do we support our girls to make these decisions?

What is course counselling?

The College has a trained team of course advisors who assist our girls on their academic journey, giving valuable time to each student to reflect on their efforts, their strategies, their successes and their growth areas. They assist our girls in making decisions that will enable them to be motivated and successful at school.

Careers are discussed, but much of the focus is on student strengths, keeping their options open and maximising their potential in their areas of strength. I am a great believer in choosing subjects you enjoy because this will motivate you to work hard, which in turn leads to success which then becomes the motivator.

An effective conversation can help students navigate difficult decisions and have a profound impact on the wellbeing of students. Students may not ask for help but with the right questions, these conversations can be a turning point for some students. Sometimes several conversations are needed.

What opportunities do we offer?

  • Each Year 10 student meets with a course advisor at the beginning of Term 3, to assist them with selecting pathways and courses for Year 11
  • Each Year 11 student meets with a course advisor at the beginning of Term 4, to review Year 11, to set goals for Year 12, and to make any changes to pathways or courses before Year 12 courses commence in Week 4.
  • Individual students can also seek assistance from their Homeroom teacher, their Dean or a teacher with whom they have a connection.

How can parents partner with us?

Parents can:

  • Help your daughter choose her pathway and subjects for herself, not based on what her friends are doing.
  • Share her academic strengths and challenges with her and discuss ways to enhance or overcome these.
  • Encourage your daughter to make the choices for herself rather than based on your own career choices.
  • Understand the benefits and challenges of both ATAR and ACCESS pathways and the different opportunities they offer.
  • Make your daughter aware that current success is a factor in future success, so a willingness to adopt new strategies and seek support are crucial for improvement.
  • Encourage your daughter to seek advice from her teachers; they understand very clearly her suitability to particular subjects.
  • Facilitate talking to older siblings or graduates who can share their personal stories.

In partnership, staff and parents can listen, question and support your daughter to make choices to ensure she reaches her academic potential on her journey to graduation.

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