Events, features and things to do for families in New Hampshire
You know what you want out of life. How are you going to get there?
The answer is New Hampshire Scholars. The classes you take in high school reveal a lot about your motivation and interest in learning. Enrolling in the appropriate courses now will open more opportunities for college and career later. Remember that only meeting high school graduation requirements may not mean meeting college entrance requirements. The question is, are you really challenging yourself academically and otherwise during your high school years? There are many benefits to taking more rigorous courses including:
Communication, problem solving and critical thinking are much needed skills. On average only 25 percent of students are enrolled in rigorous core courses in New Hampshire high schools. This places students at a real disadvantage when seeking admission to college or trying to land their first job. Every student should take tougher courses and challenge themselves by completing the core subjects that will better prepare them for college and career.
New Hampshire is entering its fifth year as part of the State Scholars Initiative, a program that encourages all students to take a more rigorous course of study. Whether choosing electives, basic or upper level courses, it’s important to challenge yourself. New Hampshire Scholars partners local schools with business and community mentors to reinforce the need to learn necessary 21st century skills. These skills are attained through rigorous core courses; the same courses colleges and employers expect.
Shouldn’t I be taking these classes anyway? High school students say they want to work harder and be challenged. Several national surveys of high school students find that across the board students feel high school is too easy, which leaves them feeling unmotivated and wishing we were expecting more from them. Eighty-eight percent say they would work harder if their high school demanded more of students, set higher standards and raised expectations (Source: Achieve). Students themselves say that high school would be better if it were more rigorous and challenging (Source: Horatio Alger).
So, whether you plan to go to a four-year, two-year or technical school, there are certain subjects that are critical to your success. Keep in mind your high school graduation requirements may not demand all of these courses. Go above and beyond what you need to graduate. Patterned after the recommendations of the National Commission on Excellence in Education, the New Hampshire Scholars Core Course of Study includes no less than the following:
Both four-year and two-year colleges look for students who have taken this high school curriculum. Colleges expect incoming students to be able to excel in college-level courses. Students who don’t complete the New Hampshire Scholars core course of study find the transition to college-level work difficult and are generally less prepared. These students often find that they need to take several non-credit bearing classes (remedial courses) before the college allows them to begin their credit-bearing curriculum.
Ask not what your community can do for you, but rather what you can do for your community. Ok, so John F. Kennedy’s speech was slightly different, but if you’ve been asked once, you’ve been asked a million times. What do you want to be when you grow up? What will your college major be? Before you can answer these questions, you need to understand your skills and interests. Sure there are online questionnaires and personalized tests to help you. But the best way to learn what values and interests you truly have is by experiencing it yourself.
As a New Hampshire Scholar, local business partners may offer you the opportunity to tour various job sites, or participate in job shadowing or informational interviews. These are all great ways to learn about specific career fields you may be interested in.
Some of the greatest learning opportunities come through community engagement. Giving back, helping others, lending a helping hand are not only ways to assist others, but will also provide you an opportunity to learn about yourself. What skills do you possess? Do you enjoy working with others? Do you value working with children, the elderly, or those less fortunate? While getting involved in community projects will make a difference in the town you live in, it may also determine a few areas in which you’d like to pursue long-term.
Career exploration and choosing a college major requires more than simply enrolling in a challenging high school curriculum. It means networking with local community leaders, learning first-hand what your skills and interests are and developing a well-rounded persona. Higher education institutions are looking for well-balanced students. And while the intensity of your high school curriculum is a predictor of college success, it is important to prove your ability to work in teams, be a leader, and immerse yourself in school and community activities. Become a well rounded student by connecting classroom and community achievements.
So what should I do next?
Talk to your school counselor to develop a personalized education plan. Make sure you are on track to graduate having completed a rigorous curriculum. Ask if your high school has signed on to be a State Scholar School. Go to www.NHscholars.org to learn more about the State Scholars program.
Remember, your future is largely what you will make of it. By getting involved and challenging yourself today you are taking the important next steps to your successful tomorrow.
Written by Scott Power, Director – New Hampshire Scholars Initiative, firstname.lastname@example.org
Last updated by Morgen Thiboult Sep 21, 2011.