Creating Pathways to Success – Grades 9 – 12

Students are assigned a guidance counsellor with whom they will work throughout Grades 7-9, and a new counsellor for Grades 10-12. In higher grades, much of the counselling will pertain to the post-secondary education search and application process. By working with students over a three-year period, counsellors know their students and are able to guide and advocate for them effectively as they formulate their post-secondary plans.

Guidance Counsellors help students with their IBDP course choices, research, and by suggesting post-secondary institutions relevant to students’ goals. Counsellors also guide students through the various application procedures for their final list of post-secondary destinations. In addition to the post-secondary process, Counsellors also check in on student well-being, monitor academic progress, provide support on life skills such as time management and maintaining balance, and help students identify opportunities for enhancing individual strengths.

Throughout Grade 9, students check in with their counsellors to review their learning skills, work habits, and academic success. Grade 9 courses are credit courses that contribute to the completion of the Ontario Secondary School Diploma. Students understand that these courses will be shown on their transcripts, to which universities will have access.

Students meet with their counsellors to discuss course selection for Grade 10, and to some extent Grades 11 and 12. Students and counsellors work together to develop an Individual Pathways Plan, a roadmap of post-secondary options that suit the students’ interests, needs, and talents. School resources, such as the Higher Education Fair, offer the opportunity for students (and parents) to explore some of the many opportunities available to them.

Students meet their new counsellors, and begin discussing their thoughts about the future and their post-secondary pathways. Grade 10 introduces students to several excellent career and life planning resources, such as the Careers class, where students learn about resume and interview strategies, new career pathways, and how to effectively research university programs. Students also complete the Interquest Aptitude and Career Assessment, which will guide the counsellors, the students, and their families through discussions around post-secondary destinations.

Using this new information, counsellors and students will discuss course selection for the IB Diploma Program, which begins in Grade 11 and continues through the end of Grade 12. Parents are also invited to meet with counsellors to ensure a team approach to student success. Students are encouraged to attend the Higher Education Fair, as well as the numerous visits from university and college admissions representatives that occur throughout the year.

Those students interested in studying in the U.S.A. have the option of taking the PSAT as preparation for later standardised testing.

Counsellors continue to meet regularly with their students in one-on-one sessions. The counselling team also host seminars and workshops for Grade 11 students related to the post-secondary research and application processes, the finer details of different university systems, personal statement drafting, activities resumes, and short-term planning.

Grade 11 students are strongly encouraged to take advantage of the Higher Education Fair and the numerous visits from university and college admissions representatives that occur throughout the year. As the year progresses, students create a long list of potential destinations, then work with counsellors and parents to narrow that list based on personal criteria, interests, and aptitudes.

Students keep track of their extracurricular activities, leadership responsibilities, and CAS requirements, and share their accomplishments and reflections with their guidance counsellors.

Students planning to study in the U.S.A. are encouraged to sit either the ACT or SAT in the spring. Counsellors can provide information about preparing for these tests effectively.

Counsellors and students meet frequently to review application details or plan gap year activities. Parents are encouraged to meet with counsellors as well. Some topics of discussion include finalising the list of post-secondary applications, reviewing deadlines for different application systems, getting feedback on personal statement drafts, and sharing general updates.

Guidance counsellors run information sessions for students about country-specific post-secondary information and application procedures. Students continue to meet representatives from universities and colleges when they visit campus.

The counselling team provide transition workshops dealing with topics of interest to students leaving high school: budgeting and finances, healthy meal preparation, sexual health, job opportunities, and many more.