Many students experience a fair amount of anxiety and stress around writing their college essay. For the most part, this stems from a lack of focus and/or having a compelling story to write about. At Halstrom Academy, we have helped thousands of students through the process of writing a good college admissions essay.
The purpose of the college essay. Keep in mind that your main objective is to show your true essence – your passions, values or beliefs. In other words, show the real you. This is what the college admissions board is looking for – what makes you an individual and sets you apart from the hundreds to thousands of other applicants? Present yourself as a mature, reflective, intelligent and positive young adult, while also remaining genuine and humble. This essay should not be a list of your accomplishments or a time to boast about yourself. As we often tell our students, just write from your heart.
Asking the right questions. Most students are daunted by the overwhelming task of writing the essay. Where do they start? What we have seen that works best is to start by asking yourself the right questions. What has happened in your life that makes you the person you are today? Is it some kind of adversity, a challenge in your life, or a risk you took? Another question we ask students is to think about a pivotal point in their life. When did things start to change for you, your thinking, your views, etc? Is there anyone in your life that changed your point of view or helped you to grow emotionally or mentally?
Start broad questions such as these, then follow the answers you feel most passionate and heartfelt about to guide you in developing your college essay.
Create a focus. A key to writing a great college essay is to keep the content focused. Avoid rambling on or writing about little tangents that will lead the reader to feel there is a lack of direction for your story. One way to accomplish this is to pick one anecdote and use several angles to explain this. For example, if running a marathon was your pivotal life point, then begin with sharing what in your life caused you to want to run a marathon (maybe you were bullied as a child), then lead into the process for training, and finish with clear and detailed things you learned during the entire experience. Are you now a different person for having run this marathon? Again, remember that a genuine, heartfelt essay will show in your storytelling.
Content and Mechanics are very important. Your writing style should be concise, vivid, and free of grammatical and punctuation errors. Too many spelling and grammar mistakes will cost you because it shows a lack of quality and detail in your work. Also, use a variety of words – they can be simple words, but the same words repeated throughout the essay will show little creativity and thought.
Edit. Always make sure you have several different people read through your college essay draft to give feedback and help edit for errors. Even going to your English teacher or college counselor for editorial assistance will be extremely beneficial.
We know how nerve-racking taking the SAT and ACT tests can be. All that preparation, studying, and enduring hours of lengthy, boring questions in hopes to get you the top score that your desired college is looking for. Here are some top SAT prep tips we have gathered from our successful students and teachers at Halstrom Academy.
1. Process of Elimination goes a long way.
It’s easier to identify wrong answers in multiple choice questions. Start with the easy questions, then go back to (or skip) the more difficult questions that require more time. For example, on math problems, you can take the answer choices and plug them back into the equations to eliminate the wrong answers. At this point, even if you don’t know the answer, your odds of guessing the correct one have increased.
Note: It’s said that on the harder questions, the choices that seem right are actually incorrect. Those are the questions you should be reading more carefully and answering only what is being asked of you. Make no assumptions.
2. Practice Building your Vocabulary
One great method I used in building my vocabulary for The SAT was writing down any word that was completely foreign to me. Write the word, the definition and the Latin breakdown of it. Soon, those words become familiar, as well as other words that are rooted from it.
3. Actively Read!
It’s important to understand that with the critical reading passage portion of the SAT test, material you may find uninteresting is often the most relevant. This can make it difficult for you to keep your focus. To prepare for this, continually read topics, material, and articles that you find boring until you have trained your brain to retain unfamiliar information. For example, if you find finance topics boring, then start reading the finance sections of the NY Times and Forbes.
During the test, one way to regain focus is to take notes as you are reading the passage, and write next to the sentence, paragraph, etc.
4. Write Notes – Show your Work.
Studies have shown that one common characteristic of students with higher scores is that they mark up the test with notes, whether on reading passages or math problems. They just start writing what they do know, which can lead to them remembering the formula or how to figure out the answer. This is also a good strategy for eliminating simple mistakes.
5. Write a Great Essay.
A key component to a successful essay is the maturity level of its content. So if writing is a strong suit for you, this is where you will be able to rake up some points on the SAT. One way to demonstrate a mature writing level is to incorporate dynamic and varied vocabulary into your essay. A large majority of students use dull and simple diction, which shows lack in their skillful use of language.
Another key component is to take in the opposing point of view and acknowledge that in your thesis. Your goal is to briefly point out that the opposing view is reasonable, while maintaining that your thesis is still the superior viewpoint, which should be backed by existing examples through a current affair or historic event.
6. Practice Taking full-length tests.
This will not only help you understand the format of the tests, your problem areas, and how to allocate your time properly, but it will “train” you and your brain for the marathon of tests. Endurance is key to taking an SAT. In the same way you can’t expect to run a full marathon with one week of training and light jogs, you can’t expect to achieve your best SAT score after a weeklong cram session of studying.
You can easily buy study guides and practice tests online on Amazon.com or The official SAT Course website.
Always make sure you get plenty of sleep, exercise and healthy eating – the best strategy for success no matter what you are tackling. Best of luck.
Most juniors in high school couldn’t imagine working with celebrities and international TV shows, let alone owning their own business. Halstrom San Diego’s, Nik Sharma is ahead of the game and at a young age has accomplished the success that most adults are still searching for.
Nik has taken his passion for management, marketing, and social media and has paved his way in the professional world as a 17 year old entrepreneur. He is currently working as head of social media for Andaaz Inc, an international TV show receiving over 20 million viewers every week. He manages their Facebook, Twitter, and other social media. Additionally, he works to develop strategic social marketing campaigns for many organizations including Manav Sehyog Society USA.
As the CEO and Founder of Hoss Sharma Consulting Group, Nik has surged on the social media scene and is quickly becoming very well known in the entertainment industry and beyond. He’s had a taste of success already but is passionate about continuing to grow his business. A top ranked business school destined in his future, Nik realizes the importance of remaining focused on academics and balancing the 24/7 demands of his company. This is only the beginning…the best is yet to come for Nik Sharma.
About Nik Sharma:
Halstrom High School
San Diego, California
1. Why did you choose to attend Halstrom?
“I’ve gone to private schools my whole life. Before coming to Halstrom I went to a public school and didn’t like the academics there. I didn’t feel like I got the attention I needed from the teachers and it was hard to learn properly. We were referred to Halstrom by another student and I took a class at the San Diego campus. My teacher was so enthusiastic about math and we worked on lots of the problems together. He made it fun and it was the firsttime I finished my homework right away. I liked the enthusiasm of the teachers so I gave Halstrom a shot on a full-time basis.
2. What do you do outside of school?
“I have my own business, SocialVu Media which began from the passion I have for marketing and management. I’m also co-founder of the “Hoss I Sharma Consulting Group” which not only does marketing but also a variety of services in the areas of consulting, branding/identity, social media/e-mail/SMS marketing, online reputation management, SEO, link building and analytics. I spend a lot of time working on my business but other than that I am a disc jokey. I’ll be mixing a concert for 93.3 radio in May and next week I’ll be starting a weekly mix show with a nationally syndicated radio host who airs in many cities around the country for his weekly show
3. What do you want to do after high school/college?
“I definitely want to go to college after high school. I’m thinking of possibly USC, Berkeley, or U Penn-Wharton School of Business. Any university with a good business program would be my focus. After I graduate from college I want to continue running my own business and concentrate on entrepreneurship.
4. If you could give one piece of advice to an incoming freshman what would it be?
“If I was to give a freshman advice, it would be to make sure to have a goal in mind while you are at Halstrom. This school encourages students to be independent and offers a lot of flexibility so in order to stay focused you need to have a goal in mind and stay motivated. Another thing is that Halstrom has a lot of different courses, I would tell them to take classes that will help them in their career.”
5. Who is your role model and why?
“I guess I have two role models. The first one is my Dad. My Dad has been an entrepreneur for his whole professional life and he chose to do his own thing even though his family was pushing him to become a doctor or an engineer. He decided to establish his own goals and pursue something he really wanted and was passionate about. He’s really successful and trades for the stock market. My other role model is Mark Cuban. He came from virtually nothing and has worked really hard to start his own businesses. His companies have really surged ahead but he stays humble, is involved with charities and helps the community. I admire that. “
6. What do you love about Halstrom?
“I really love the enthusiasm of the teachers. They enjoy teaching us and it helps to have them be excited about the subjects we’re learning. I also like the flexible scheduling and the fact that at Halstrom I have lots of time to focus on both schoolwork and my business.”
Ramon Dourado, CEO of Futures of Education, parent company of Halstrom Academy speaks with Bob Gourley on his radio show "Issues Today" regarding the differences between private schools teaching through 1:1 instruction and charter schools.
To listen to the interview, click here.
Private schools are held to a strict set of standards, but because they do not receive federal, state or local public funding, they are not required to adhere to the same regulations that govern public schools. This allows private schools to be more specialized in terms of the curriculum offered, the manner in which it is offered, such as Halstrom’s one-to-one education model. While private schools are not tuition free, many offer scholarships and tuition-reduction options for families with limited financial resources.
Halstrom Academy, a private school in Southern California and online, has positively impacted its students for the past 28 years by delivering a curriculum accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges through a one-to-one instruction model. Halstrom provides students with essential skills to succeed inside and outside of the classroom by offering one-to-one instruction to helps them maximize their classroom and individual learning styles, and flexible scheduling options for actors, athletes, professionals, and students who wish to learn on their own schedule. Halstrom’s technology-enriched learning environment utilizes iPads loaded with etextbooks and learning apps for those with learning disabilities, social anxiety and those that may need a more individualized approach to learning.
Charter schools are primary or secondary schools that are a part of the public educational system. While these schools are held to federal and state standards, they are granted more flexibility and are held accountable for producing certain results set forth in the school’s charter. Charter schools are funded by local, state and federal tax dollars as well as private donations, and therefore tuition is free.
Each charter school has its own unique way of operating and is open to any student who wishes to enroll. Charter schools are allowed to innovate in ways that improve student achievement such as offering:
- Non-traditional operating hours
- Customized curriculum
- Learning models utilizing technology
- Creating a culture based on a particular focus or theme.
By law, each public school must accept all children who live within a school’s or school-system’s designated district area. But this doesn’t always mean the school can offer students all of the educational resources they need. Many public schools do not have funding to help students with special needs or learning issues that require a more complex teaching process. Also, school districts that have “school choice” policies may require parents to enter a lottery to gain admission to their chosen school, and many public districts in more densely populated areas make some schools competitive to enroll in based on students’ GPAs, athletic abilities or artistic talents.
Everyone benefits from more choices in education. Charter Schools are tuition free and offer innovative solutions that improve many educational challenges that exist within public schools.
Private Schools, while not tuition free, offer additional flexibility and more targeted educational solutions designed for specific needs of targeted populations. In any case, parents, students, and teachers can rest assured that they don’t have to settle for one-size fits all when it comes to where they spend their school days. For more information and how to locate a charter school in California, click here. For a list of private schools in California click here.
I remember receiving my college acceptance letter and thinking I did it. All of my hard work taking college prep courses in high school has paid off. I was led to believe that if I studied hard and got good grades I would succeed in college. Boy, was I in for a surprise.
The first year of college was more difficult than I could've imagined. Most of my friends were struggling as well, except for one girl who was homeschooled in high school because of her peforming dance schedule. How was she able to juggle college life, studies and dance? I didn't quite figure out the answer in college but looking back I think it is because her teacher promoted independent learning.
I came across a blog article by Julie DeNeen who suggests that teachers become facilitators in the classroom, encouraging independent learning. When a student learns at his/her own pace as in a one-on-one education environment, not only prepares students for college but for life in the workforce.
10 Reasons Why Independent Learning Prepares Students For College
The benefits of self-learning are well documented. Just look at all the advantages an independent learner takes away from their own education.
1. Learn how to learn.
There is a difference between regurgitating materials on an exam vs. understanding the process of learning. Students who aren’t given the opportunity for independent learning don’t acquire the skill of HOW to learn and how to examine a principle from multiple angles. The teacher stands in the way of the student’s natural curiosity.
2. Independent learning focuses on the process and not simply the goal.
The process of learning is an exciting adventure that can be interrupted when the primary focus of the classroom is on the goal. We can learn from famous inventors whose failure in the process became the seed for amazing success down the road.
3. Flexibility for different levels of intelligence.
Not every student is going to work at the same pace. A facilitator in the classroom can oversee the environment so that each student can work at their own pace and timing, on a flexible schedule.
4. Independent learning includes time management and other life skills.
Traditional classroom environments can hamper a child’s ability to function in the real world where deadlines, distractions, and other obstacles are in the way. Bosses on the job don’t act like teachers.
Office areas are not like pristine classrooms where everything is methodical and routine. Independent learning requires the student to develop other secondary skills like planning and making priority lists and deadlines to achieve their goals. They must also learn how to deal with distraction effectively.
5. Passion and curiosity cement learning.
Can you imagine the difference in motivation if you allowed a student to research a topic that truly piqued his or her interest? Motivation to climb over obstacles is far easier to muster when the student is allowed to choose what educational mountain to tackle first.
6. Internal satisfaction.
The world isn’t going to cheer us all on always. When things get tough, those who don’t quit are the ones who are determined to rely on their own sense of satisfaction and not someone patting them on the back. Students who have a facilitator rather than a teacher will come to depend on themselves for a job well done.
7. Independent learners are more aware of their own strengths and weaknesses.
A weakness is only as dangerous as the level of ignorance the person has about it. Independent learning forces students to grapple with both their strengths and weaknesses through the educational process.
8. Students learn how to educate others.
If a facilitator invites the student to plan the lesson, then he or she is also learning about how to teach someone else. What good is genius locked up inside of someone who has no idea how to communicate to others?
9. Students can self-critique more effectively.
When the process is part of the goal, failure isn’t quite so scary. When the fear of failure disappears, it is much easier to learn the art of self-critique. Traditional teachers and classrooms make little room for failure as everything is based on grades and exams.
Learning is not always a straight path. Often times it is a messy walk in the woods with a lot of detours. Independent learners are ready and capable of navigating the process whereas pupils that are fed information from the teacher will get discouraged when they venture out on their own.
To read more of Julie DeNeen's article 10 Reasons Why Educators Should Encourage Independent Learning click the link below.
Read more: http://newsroom.opencolleges.edu.au/news/teachers-or-facilitators-10-reasons-why-educators-should-step-out-of-the-way-and-encourage-independent-learning/#ixzz2JJ5TL9Pc
An alternative school, or non-traditional school, is any education setting that is outside of the conventional education norm. Educational alternatives come in a many shapes and sizes, but typically root from dissatisfaction by educators, students, and/or parents with the typical classroom environment in public schools. An alternative school typically consists of:
Smaller classroom size - 1:1 instruction is growing in popularity.
Close student-teacher relationship
Essential student decision-making and skills gained daily
More involvement with school activities and around the community
Peer guidance and parental involvement
Prepares for a successful future and students can obtain skills inside and outside the classroom
And it’s no surprise that people are dissatisfied and their appetite for an alternative school is larger than ever. The typical middle school classroom in California has a student teacher ratio of over 26:1, with high school classes soaring well above 30. With budget cuts deepening in California and other states, resources dwindling, and class sizes ballooning, students are getting left behind.
In contrast, typically an alternative education setting including independent private schools, charter schools, or home-based learning, place a high value on smaller class sizes, closer relationships between students and teachers, and school culture. When this combination of ingredients are done right, students’ educational outcomes are dramatically improved.
According to the US Department of Education Institute for Education Science 2003 report, reducing class sizes paid off. The average student in smaller classes scored 60% higher on the Stanford Achievement Test in reading/math than students in regular sized classes. In addition, the same study showed that the average student tutored one-to-one reads more proficiently than approximately 75% than the average untutored student.
Halstrom High School, an alternative private school in Southern California and online, has positively impacted its students for the past 28 years with one-to-one instruction based alternative education, providing students with essential skills to succeed insides and outside of the classroom. Halstrom offers flexible scheduling options for actors, athletes and professional students and one-to-one instruction for students utilizing iPad technology loaded with etextbooks and learning apps for those with learning disabilities, social anxiety and those that may need a more individualized approach to learning.
All in all, everyone benefits from more choices in education. Alternative schools each have their own particular “cure” to the limitations of traditional schools. And parents, students, and teachers can rest assured that they don’t have to settle for one-size fits all when it comes to where they spend their school days. For a list of private alternative schools in California click here.
There are many factors that may cause a student to struggle in school
, such as learning disabilities or issues with friends and family. The study techniques outlined here are suggestions to help your child improve test scores
and over all comprehension.
- Organized Note Taking – Summarizing the subject material is a great way to record the important sections from a lesson. To do this implement the following:
- Ask the Five W’s & One H - as you are reading re-cap the section by asking why, what, where, when, who and how to re-cap the section.
- Annotation – jot a note down in your own words that will help you understand the material you just read.
- Visual or Auditory Learner? – If you are a visual learner, reading may be enough to remember the material, or try drawing pictures, diagrams and graphs or even watch videos found online to summarize the material. If you are an auditory learner, record yourself re-capping the material or listen to lessons online.
- Use of Note Cards, Pencils, Pens & Highlighters - By simply using different colored pencils and pens for different meanings or highlighters to make an important section pop will help you remember what you read.
- Review – Re-read your notes and test yourself by answering the five W’s and one H.
- Practice Memory Techniques – We have all seen and heard those folks on TV who are able to memorize the most mundane things after hours and even days without thinking about them. Why? It’s because they practice association when needing to remember something. When studying, build a story around what you are reading or associate a word with an object, place, TV show, etc. For students who are struggling in school, try this at home – Ask a family member to come up with three random words and as they say the word, think of something that reminds you of that word. For example, the word tree reminds me of the word free. Trees are free to enjoy. Second word, pine cone. As I enjoy looking at a tree a pinecone hits me on the head. And so on…visualize this story as the words are being read or said. The next day, have your family member ask you which words you were supposed to remember. I bet that you recall the funny story and will remember which words they are. This study technique takes practice but can be very fun and creative.
- The Obvious – Eating and Sleeping. Teenager’s brains continue to develop until they are well into their early 20’s. For this reason kids need 9-11 hours of sleep a night to be fully energetic and for quicker brain function the next day. In addition, making sure students eat healthy meals and also staying hydrated helps with concentration. Remember the old saying – breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Snacking on healthy items (carrots, pretzels, cheese) throughout the day is also extremely beneficial. Avoid high sugar diets and drink plenty of water helps prevent fatigue.
- Ask For & Find Help – Consult with your child’s teacher. There are a number of techniques that teachers may recommend to practice outside of school or implement in the classroom, such as visual learning aides or posturing questions in a manner to engage the class in a memorable discussion about what was learned. Outside of the classroom there are a number of resources to help students struggling in school. Think about who has expertise in the subject matter among your friends/family and who seems to connect with your child. A different perspective may help the child retain and understand the material better. If such a resource is not available, call a local one-to-one instruction tutoring center. Ensure the tutors are educators and will be the same tutor working with your child throughout the tutoring program.
No matter what, don’t give up on students who may be struggling in school.
If these techniques do not work consider a school with small classes or 1:1 instruction
where the teaching is based on content mastery
, and tailored to student’s needs and pace. Schools that offer one-to-one instruction prepare students for life in college and beyond by teaching organizational and time management skills for independent learning and empowering students to take control of their learning in a fun and memorable way.
Attention Deficient and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and school success is a prevalent problem for students. ADHD has symptoms that include inattention to detail, impulsivity, poor concentration, and, possibly, oppositional defiance disorder. In a large classroom setting, these symptoms result in poor grades, forgotten homework, lost textbooks, and violation of school rules.
How does a parent cope with these symptoms and create success for their child?
First, an awareness of the symptoms is very important. NIH reported in 2007 that children with ADHD mature approximately three years slower than their peers, but their brains follow a normal pattern. “Finding a normal pattern of cortex maturation, albeit delayed, in children with ADHD should be reassuring to families and could help to explain why many youth eventually seem to grow out of the disorder,” explained Philip Shaw, M.D., NIMH Child Psychiatry Branch. Knowing that your child will be okay is a great way to approach the issue and prime them for success. The delay in brain development is in the frontal cortex which controls executive functions of planning and thinking.
Many students are accused of being lazy, but the issue is the inability to plan and remember details. Dr. Russell Barkley reported that 89-98 percent of children with ADHD have deficits in practical executive skills, such as time management and organizational skills. As a teacher and parent of an ADHD student I found this to be very true. He had trouble starting schoolwork, staying on task, remembering facts, and turning in the completed work. I kept positive and focused on his gifts to get him to successfully complete high school. A major key to his success was an individual school program. He worked with one teacher per class at an alternative high school. ADHD and school success is absolutely attributed to the 1:1 instruction and the caring environment that fostered a two-way line of communication between the teacher and myself.
One-on-one instruction eliminates many of the challenges found in large classrooms for ADHD students.
Now, a teacher at Halstrom High School, I work with one student at a time allowing me to focus on the student’s individual learning style. They don’t get to hide in a classroom full of 30-40 other students. I look them in the eye and can see if they understand or not. I tailor the material to the interests of each child. This is especially important to the ADHD student’s success in school. They have a low tolerance for boring subjects.
How to create success in school for ADHD students
Students with this disability require consistent and long term support. According to Dr. Russell Barkley, “Complaining to these individuals about their lack of motivation (laziness), drive, will power, or self-discipline will not suffice to correct the problem. Pulling back from assisting them to let the natural consequences occur, as if this will teach them a lesson that will correct their behavior, is likewise a recipe for disaster. Instead, artificial means of creating external sources of motivation must be arranged at the point of performance in the context in which the work or behavior is desired.”
These students need consistent clear directions. Working one-on-one with the same teacher is invaluable. A compassionate, firm teacher can initiate and tailor instruction to spark the interest of the child. Learning practical skills and techniques in smaller environment helps students with ADHD and school success.
About the Author
Mary Paliescheskey is a teacher at Halstrom High School. She has a bachelor’s of science in Bacteriology from the University of California, Davis. She worked for 13 years on medical research projects and is published in peer reviewed journals. Before coming to Halstrom, Ms. Paliescheskey worked as a tutor for OCSSA via Professional Tutors of America.
Does class size matter? Often asked and debated, the question of class size and its impact on student experience and achievement is an important one. The answer is both simple and worthy of some explication. The short and sweet answer is yes, class size matters and a great deal, but it begs a question or two. In what context does it matter? And to whom? And it is in the answers to these questions that we discover just how much it matters for students and their teachers.
Does class size matter in content delivery? In small classes, I can give individual students more attention and better understand their specific needs. Students have more time to ask meaningful questions and I have more time to give meaningful feedback, both on the spot and in response to their work. There are fewer classroom management issues that interfere with instruction and students are likely to have greater access to resources and opportunities for learning. In a one-to-one classroom, these benefits are magnified. I’m able to tailor course content to each student’s needs. I may have several students taking the same course, but with one student, I spend more time on writing and with another, I spend more on reading critically and developing grammar skills. I am able to give each student what he or she needs. No “one size fits all” curriculum in my classroom. If a student understands the concepts, we move on.
Does class size matter in re-teaching and remediation? The reality in education is that some students just don’t get it the first time around. In my classroom, I’m constantly assessing my students for understanding. When they aren’t getting it, we stop immediately to diagnose the problem. I’m able to address problems as they arise, reteach and move forward confidently, knowing that the student is ready to go. In cases when students have to remediate an entire course, we have the unique opportunity of focusing that curriculum on the problem areas. I can ask students why they failed a class. We can focus on those concepts. In this way, they are not simply repeating the course for the sake of a grade, but really acquiring skills and closing gaps.
Does class size matter in rapport and relationship building? The second students enter the classroom, whether they know it or not, they enter into a relationship with the teacher. That relationship is critical to the teacher’s ability to facilitate learning experiences, and students’ willingness to take risks and ask questions as they learn new concepts and skills. In one-to-one instruction, relationships grow organically because so much of what goes on in the classroom is conversation-based. We are on the same team, working together towards their educational goals. Because learning happens at a much faster rate in one-to-one instruction, I’m able to spend time early in the class fostering relationships with my students. When there is trust between teacher and student, more productive work gets done.
I’ve taught in all kinds of classes, from the very large (45-50 students) to the very small (one student). I’ve taught all kinds of learners, from the reluctant to the highly advanced. No matter the environment, no matter the student, one thing remains the same. I see the best results in students when I am able to give them personal attention, when I am sensitive to their needs, and when my teaching decisions are responsive to their progress. I want to bring out the best in every student that I encounter and when I work one on one with students, I am able to do that.
One-to-one instruction is based on the research of Dr. Benjamin Bloom from the University of Chicago which shows that learning occurs at a rate of 98%.
About the author:
Mandy Paterson is a teacher at Halstrom High School. She received her teaching credential and a Master of Arts in English from Cal State Fullerton. Before coming to Halstrom, Ms. Paterson taught English and ELD in a traditional public school.
The importance of learning social skills in school to help kids succeed both inside and outside of the classroom is key to personal development and growth. The size of the classroom does not affect the ability to learn social skills in school, however the experience and environment does. It’s in the way they learn social skills in school that empowers them to become well-rounded, confident and respectful young adults later in life.
In schools with a 1:1 education model, where classrooms consist of one student and one teacher, the argument is that students are not learning or having the opportunity to practice their social skills.
We asked students at Halstrom High School, who offer 1:1 instruction, to share their experience of learning social skills in school. The students come from all sorts of backgrounds – homeschooled, attended public school, or are aspiring athletes and actors, and unique learners.
Jasmin – 11th grade
“Halstrom High School has an excellent structure for students to socialize with other students and teachers. During our one-to-one classes I learn how to communicate with adults, which I believe will help me in business after college. When we aren’t in class the school has set up an area called "The Study" for the students to just chill, do homework or hang out with friends. Because of the small environment I feel more relaxed to engage in debates and discuss topics on a whim. I’m learning and practicing social skills in school everyday at Halstrom. The one-to-one is just a method of teaching and isn’t affecting our lives negatively outside of the classroom.”
Kevin – 11th grade
“Extracurricular activities shape a teen’s life and is where in my belief kids learn a majority of their social skills. That’s why at Halstrom High School, I have joined a number of clubs and go on field trips in addition to hiking and archery after school. The socialization here is no different than other schools with larger classrooms. What is the best, is that I can finish my homework during the day so I have time to hang out with my friends, volunteer or play sports when a normal school day ends. At Halstrom, the teachers speak to us like co-eds, not little kids – this means more to me about learning social skills in school because I will be an adult soon. “
Lynn – 12th grade
“As a senior attending classes with just myself and a teacher, I feel learning social skills in school is easier because I have gained more confidence in the smaller environment. A one-to-one school helps students develop good communication skills and leadership skills because of the attention received by teachers. It also helps students be able to take responsibility for their actions and I know it has helped me. Attending a one-to-one school such as Halstrom, gives me a significant advantage to build up my social skills by building courage and confidence to speak with teachers and students.”
Parker – 10th grade
“At Halstrom, bullying is not tolerated and would never go unnoticed; the teachers are very polite, understanding, and helpful beyond belief with your work. As a student who has never really fit in with other kids in public schools, some may label me as anti-social. That’s not the case at all. Since attending Halstrom I’ve found it much easier to talk to people and because of the flexible schedule I’m able to get all of my schoolwork done which leaves time for me to hang out with my friends after school. Some kids enjoy a larger environment and some do not, but we all learn social skills in school whether that’s in a 1:1 classroom or a classroom with 30 students.”
At Halstrom, over 15,000 students have attended one of the many Southern California campuses either online or on campus. The students have gone on to attend prestigious universities such as Duke, NYC, USC, UC Berkeley, London School of Business and more. As young adults the alumni are thriving socially and professionally, and we feel confident that each student has learned valuable social skills at Halstrom High School.