What To Expect From Dublin High School’s Freshman Seminar (from the Class of 2019)
This past school year, Dublin High School implemented the Freshman Seminar program: a semester-long course meant to “prepare students for life after high school and to provide a view of their future and a plan on how to get there.” This program is unique to Dublin High School, with the Class of 2019 being the first to experience it.
The curriculum was taught on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, with Tuesdays and Thursdays allotted to a Guided GAEL study hall period.
The course began with students creating a personal profile and identifying their strengths, skills, passions, and aptitudes; they proceeded to learn about financial planning, from the basic needs of food, clothing, and housing, to healthcare and savings.
Based on their personal profile and desired lifestyle, students researched possible careers, and went on to develop their 10-Year Plan. The course concluded with students creating a resume and a letter of introduction that “accurately identifies the individual values, strengths, and skills”, as well as participating in a group interview conducted by an outside working professional.
I recently had the chance to survey nearly 40 fellow incoming sophomores about their experiences with the Freshman Seminar program. The following is a general summary of their responses.
Q: The goal of Freshman Seminar is to prepare students for life after high school and to provide a view of their future and a plan on how to get there. How well do you think it fulfilled its mission?
Freshman Seminar was useful in preparing us for life beyond high school and college. It did an excellent job of helping us envision and plan our future. Although the plans we developed were not concrete, we were able to get a general idea of what we wanted to do after completing our education.
Q: Evaluate how useful the program was for you.
In the process of investigating potential future careers, we gained further insight into our personality, skills, and areas of interest. This was the most useful part of the program, which helped us create a working resume and letter of introduction. We greatly appreciated the opportunity to get a head start on our homework during Guided GAEL periods twice a week.
Q: Based on the career exploration activities, were you able to begin developing a 10-year plan?
Most of us were successful in beginning to develop a 10-Year Plan, although it was rather tentative. It was challenging to develop a concrete plan within such a short period of time, given that we were still navigating through the courses, sports, and electives offered at high school. By the end of the year, many of us had already changed our plans for high school itself, especially in elective and career choice.
Q: What topic(s) would you have liked to see in this program that were not covered?
The program heavily focused on developing a 10-Year Plan well into adult life; its biggest drawback was its lack of focus on college courses and budgeting – and more importantly, high school courses, especially since the program is exclusively offered to freshmen. Freshmen are still navigating and exploring their options in terms of courses, extracurriculars, and enrichment opportunities at the high school level. We would have liked to see a unit that aligned our high school coursework to our college education, and eventually, a future career.
Q: At the end of the program, how successful were you in identifying your values, strengths, and skills when writing a resume and a letter of introduction?
The program was successful in teaching us how to create an effective resume and letter of introduction that truly reflected individual strengths, skills, and achievements. It helped identify some of the skills we didn’t know we had or thought were useful, but were in fact, very valuable in the career paths we had explored.
Q: Share your thoughts about the group interview.
First and foremost, it was a unique opportunity to be evaluated by someone who did not know us personally, thus resembling what it would be like in the real world. Being interviewed in a group setting and being given the questions beforehand relieved some of the anxiety otherwise felt in a typical one-on-one interview.
Q: How can incoming freshmen get the most out of Freshman Seminar?
Incoming freshmen should be open-minded and honest when evaluating their strengths, skills, and values. Although your decisions in this class do not determine your entire future and plans are bound to change, take the class seriously. This program provides an excellent platform to identify your personality, interests, and career options, as well as begin thinking and planning for the future.