Getting Kids Ready for College

In the past few weeks, as news of The New School has spread, we’ve been hearing similar questions from many prospective parents and students. The questions go something like this: Will students be prepared to go to a rigorous college? Will they take traditional high school subjects? What about the SAT? Is my child really going to be challenged by a project-based curriculum?

These are the critically important questions we expect parents and students to be asking.

We will address these questions and others at the upcoming New School Information Sessions, but we’d like to offer some answers here as well. To begin with, our students will work through a challenging curriculum, one that includes subjects like Calculus, Chemistry, World Literature, and American History—what some would call traditional high school subjects. Students at The New School will earn college-preparatory diplomas, which in Georgia means that students have taken specific courses. Scroll down to the bottom of this post for more detail on those requirements. Our students will also have the opportunity to take a number of their required courses at the Advanced Placement (AP) level, and to stretch – academically and personally – in the work they do at The New School.

Our goal is that The New School graduates be equipped to succeed at any university they choose. Our expectation is that they will (with the guidance of their advisors and our college counselor) be choosing the colleges and universities that are the best fit for them, and that these will include some of the top schools in the country. We want the same things for your teenagers that you want, and we take very seriously our responsibility to adequately prepare all of our students both for the admissions process, and for the various kinds of work that they will encounter in college.

What does this mean on a day-to-day basis? For starters, we feel strongly about the central role of writing in the curriculum – not just in English classes, but across the curriculum. Students will be writing (and revising) every day: analytical essays, research papers, lab reports, explications of literature, annotated reviews of current research, journal entries, to name just a few. They’ll also learn and practice the lost art of taking thoughtful notes (which are actually still useful months later), and of annotating and summarizing reading, a crucial survival skill for those heading to rigorous universities.

In addition to writing, we’re serious about teaching and practicing the so-called “executive function” skills, like short- and long-term planning, time management, organization, and perseverance, all of which are important college-readiness tools. And our students will be well prepared for the SAT and ACT. 

But the real reason that The New School students will be well prepared for college, and for life, doesn’t have much to do with test prep or AP classes. Rather, it’s about the skills that they’ll develop as part of their project-based learning: collaboration, critical thinking, entrepreneurism, adaptability, and creativity, among others. Our graduates will be effective communicators, as well as excellent researchers and analysts of information. More importantly, they will know who they are, what their passions are, and what they want to do with their lives—the very qualities great colleges and universities want to see in their students. 


The Georgia College Preparatory Curriculum:

English – 4 credits

Math – 4 credits (including at least Algebra I, Algebra II, and Geometry, + one other math)

Science – 4 credits (including at least one lab course from each of the physical and life sciences)

Social Studies – 3 credits (1 credit each of World History and American History, plus a half-credit each of Economics and US Government)

Foreign Language – 2 credits in the same language

Health and Physical Education – ½ credit each

Acceptable Academic Electives – 5 credits (these include courses in the arts and music, as well as courses in Social Studies and Foreign Language over the requirements listed above)