Decisions, Decisions: The Art of DP Course Selection

Big decisions can cause serious stress in our lives.

Even small decisions – an invitation to a party, say – and our minds teem with hesitation:

Should I go?
Who will be there?
Is there a dress code?
What do I bring?

We want details – details are important in decision-making! The more we know, the more assured we become. The more assured we are, the easier the decision becomes: RSVP 'yes' or RSVP 'no'.

The transition from the Middle Years Programme (MYP) into the Diploma Programme (DP) is no party, but it comes with the same reluctance. It's a period marked by equal-parts anticipation, hesitation, and a whole lot of questions: HL or SL? Diploma or Course? Math Analysis or Math Applications? Biology, Chemistry, or Physics? All the while, the parallel probe into universities, programs, and career paths produces its own unique set of deliberation and doubt.

Truth is, we'll probably never have all our questions answered or be entirely sure about our decisions. What we can do, however, is learn as much as possible: research our options, ask ourselves hard questions, and be honest in our answers. Talk to people – a lot of people! – and explore. Get those details.

Meadowridge students making the transition from the MYP to DP, and from DP to university do just that. Our post-secondary program is designed for students to challenge what they think they know, acquire what they might want to know, and add to what they don't yet know.

It all begins with a research project in Grade 10.

Guided by our post-secondary team, students look into universities and university programs from around the world. It's not about finding the closest university, or the most popular, or the one a distant cousin attended. It's about finding the right fit, and the right fit is different for every student. So students conduct an in-depth study, going beyond the basics, beyond the namesake or location or program. They consider every detail: what's the weather like? Would I be happy in year-round rain? What about class sizes? food offerings? student housing?

Then it goes further.

Students work backwards, listing what courses they'd need to take, and what grades they'd need to earn, to get into each university. "This helps keeps things in perspective," our post-secondary counsellors explain When students are in the bustle of the DP, they have a destination to drive them and a roadmap to reference.

Of course, some students require more time to understand what that looks like—there's a lot to consider! "For some kids," our counselors share, "they're at the point where they can define what they don't want to be—and that's great—while others just need coaching on the paths they can take in one field." Our counsellors meet with everyone, "from students who know exactly where they're going to students still struggling to make up their minds," and everyone in between.

Each Grade 10 student will take part in information sessions, one-on-one family meetings, and individual advisories. Students get to know their counsellor, and their counsellor them, forming a relationship with the person who will support, encourage, and push them for the next two years.

Each Grade 10 student will take part in teacher talks, learning about each course from the teacher who teaches it. Students learn about unit structures, assessment information, and the difference between Higher Level (HL) or Standard Level (SL) courses... and they'll also just talk. "The teacher talks are where the flavour of the course comes out," our counsellors share, "students can really get to know the teacher and their style."

Finally, each Grade 10 student will take part in course selection 'speed dating', an activity that pairs up peers for 'real talk'. Students meet with DP students, students in Grades 11 and 12, to find out what the DP is really like. They can ask anything, and they'll get an honest answer.

By the time the DP course selection rolls around, students have a lot less doubt.

Coming into adulthood and making exciting, challenging choices can be, as Mrs. White puts simply, "Scary." But it doesn't need to be. Our post-secondary team is making sure of that.

It's all in the details.

Find out more about the post-secondary program at Meadowridge


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About Meadowridge School

Our Mission Statement
Learning to live well, with others and for others, in a just community.Junior Kindergarten to Grade 12

  • International Baccalaureate Continuum World School, PYP, MYP, DP
  • Located in the West Coast of British Columbia, Canada on 27 acres in Maple Ridge
  • Challenging academic, inquiry-based curriculum, arts, athletics, experiential education
  • Founded in 1985 with an original enrolment of 85 students

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