One of the primary goals of freshman year group guidance is to assist students with their transition to high school. Transitional challenges often include managing a more rigorous curriculum, making new friends, playing on more competitive athletic teams, commuting a farther distance from home and becoming part of a new school community. Fortunately, a freshman will meet in the same small group once every six days with his assigned counselor who will help him build the critical skills and habits that will contribute to his overall success at Fordham Prep.
Counselors work to cultivate a group environment in which the students become comfortable sharing their struggles as well as their successes. Group guidance classes vary between engaging discussions, practical lessons and fun activities, and with the recent, school-wide launch of the 1-to-1 computing program, guidance lessons have experienced an array of digital enhancements. In a very short period of time, group guidance becomes a place where the freshman can ask questions, get important information, de-stress, improve their skills and feel connected.
Incoming freshman are required to read Sean Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens over the summer, providing a framework for many of the discussions and activities in the first quarter. Much time is spent on making the lessons in the book relevant to their experiences at Fordham Prep.
In quarter two, students learn about stress and stress management, bullying and cyberbullying, internet safety, the risks of alcohol and other drug use, and how to prepare for their mid-term examinations in January.
The majority of quarter three focuses on course selections for sophomore year, but other topics covered include a reflection on each student’s academic progress in the first semester, a review of what is on a high school transcript and its importance in the college process, SAT subject tests, and the meanings of weighted and unweighted grade point averages (GPA).
Quarter four includes the culminating, year-end activity in which students create and present their personal mission statements. In the last class, the boys are asked to complete a written reflection of their freshman year including their academic, social and extra-curricular experiences, which is shared with their counselors.
Additional Programs & Services
Bereavement Support Group
Transition Support Group
Personal Mission Statement Assembly
The Courage to Speak Alcohol/Drug Prevention Assembly
Bullying/Cyberbullying/Internet Safety Assembly
Freshman Parent Information Night
Sophomore year is often a time of deeper self-exploration and immersion into the Fordham Prep Community. In sophomore group guidance, the counselors utilize two framing vocational questions for the students’ consideration: “What do you want to do?” and “Who do you want to become?” From these questions flow a myriad of topics, group discussions and activities in which the boys learn about and reflect upon the character traits that define a true “man for others.” Topics of focus have included the link between gratitude and happiness; the impact of optimism on achievement; the importance of seeking and sharing inspiration; identifying the most important decisions a person gets to make and how to make them; the need to identify, believe in and work toward achieving personal goals; and the value and art of having good manners.
College and career exploration are taken to the next level, and a number of guidance classes are devoted to the college search process and standardized testing. In addition, a number of individual assessments are administered including a personality test, a strengths finder, a career interest inventory and a college major finder. These lessons are enhanced by the recent, school-wide launch of the 1-to-1 computing program.
The culminating event of sophomore guidance is a full-day program, Sophomore Dream Day. It is a day that brings together the various themes of the year and gives the students an opportunity to hear from others who have pursued their dreams, and the valuable lessons they learned along the way. In the last class, the boys are asked to complete a written reflection of their sophomore year examining their areas of strength and weakness, indicating opportunities for growth and improvement and identifying goals for their junior year.
Additional Programs & Services
Bereavement Support Group
Introduction to the College Search Process Assembly
Bullying/Cyberbullying Prevention Assembly
Sophomore Dream Day Program
Sophomore Parent Information Night
Much of the junior year guidance curriculum is focused on the college search process. Finding a college that is the right fit for each individual is emphasized and students are encouraged to explore schools based on their academic and extracurricular interests. Juniors are introduced to the Family Connection, a college and career planning tool, as well as print resources. Students are also strongly encouraged to attend college fairs and to begin visiting colleges. Counselors conduct a thorough review of standardized testing, and help each student develop an individual testing plan.
In the second semester students plan their course selection for senior year. Counselors review the parts of the application, essay writing, recommendation letters and developing an appropriate list of schools to which they may want to apply. Students are encouraged to begin working on their applications during the summer between junior and senior year.
The first semester of the senior guidance program is dedicated to the "nuts and bolts" of the college application process. Counselors review important details about application procedures, deadlines, standardized testing and the financial aid process. Periodically, guidance sections will meet in the computer lab for application work sessions.
During the second semester of senior year, classes help students consider some of the issues involved in transitioning from high school to college. Topics addressed include binge drinking, time and money management, and the challenges of independence. Additionally, counselors provide helpful information to guide students through their final decision making process.