The Value of Course Planning

Why do I have to do this now? I am only in ninth grade. How am I supposed to know I want to do?

Faith, our career and education advice columnist, received this question the other day.  It’s a common concern. After all, the world is changing quickly – what’s the point of making plans? Popular culture tells today’s students YOLO, live for the moment, and carpe diem – it’s easy to see why students question the value of making plans for the future.

But no matter what students are hearing on Instagram, research backs the value of four-year planning. There are obvious benefits, such as the ability to make sure they’re prepared for the appropriate postsecondary programs. As well, studies show that academic planning can improve students’:

  • relationships with teachers and school staff
  • ability to set goals
  • understanding of their unique skills
  • interest and independence in completing their work at school
  • enthusiasm for challenging work
  • knowledge of their education and career options

Our products give students the ability to develop detailed course plans with tools that align to students’ career goals and state standards. Using the Your Plan of Study feature, students create flexible, accountable plans.

Starting with a program of study based on a selected Career Cluster or career pathway, students can edit suggested courses to create their own personal course plan that will help them meet their goals.  Once students have built their course plan, they can do a “checkup” and compare their course plans to their high school graduation requirements.

These planning tools have the flexibility to adapt to any student’s academic goal-setting. Students even have the option to create their course plans from scratch. Here, they build their own plans by entering the courses they intend to take — courses that aren’t based on clusters or pathways.  They can also create more than one plan for different clusters or goals.

For each course, students specify the course status (planned, enrolled or complete), along with the credit they earned.

Students don’t want bad surprises about their academic progress. The planning tools keep them accountable, so they’re not shocked when it’s time to graduate or apply to college.

If you haven’t implemented the course planning tools, be sure to investigate their possibilities. For assistance, call 1-800-281-1167.

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