Push to much or not hard enough?

Two different parents. Two different messages. One says "You are not challenging my child enough!". The other says "You are challenging my child too much!".

Being a high school counselor, conversations about academic courses is at the forefront of what I do. Grades, California Standard Test scores, teacher recommendations, parent input, and student potential are all pieces of the puzzle of creating the appropriate course load for any student.

A high school counselor has to be careful with how to put the puzzle pieces of a class schedule together to ensure academic success. I try to give a student enough academic rigor to feel challenged, but not too much to overwhelm. Enough academic rigor to highlight academic strengths, and at the same avoid courses that might show academic weaknesses.

Admission to a four-year university is competitive. Just as competitive is the work-force, college admissions is just as tough. Grades, test scores, academic rigor, extracurricular activities, awards, and leadership are all factors in the college admissions process. There are lots of puzzle pieces that have to fit just right to get that coveted "admissions letter".

Most parents want their children to go to gain admissions to a four year university. My role as a high school counselor is to get as many of my students college ready as possible. After four years of high school, many of my students are ready for the university. Their high school experience has given them the tools to make them prepared to take the big step of university level study. Yet some are not ready. For these students, maybe a few years at the community college will give them the time to prepare to enter a university. Perhaps, a technical or vocational school Is a better fit. A career in military service is what some choose to do.

To push too much or not hard enough? Too much academic rigor or not enough? Is a student taking advantage of their potential or not? These are the questions I ask myself each day to help guide the decisions I make for my students.

Tough questions, even tougher answers.