Senior Seminar

Week Four

Essential Question

Can success in college and careers be predicted?

Day One

College & Career Readiness & Success Center at American Institutes for Research

Predictors of Post Secondary Success

Meta-Analysis: The review and analysis of a large body of research

This study suggests that the following "indicators", "predictors" and "other potential factors" in someway influence a persons ability to find success

Discussion Questions:

What is success? Let's define it!

How might these indicators and predictors facilitate "success" in a person's life?

Do you think the results of this study are valid?

Early Childhood

  • Participates in child care and early education
  • Early approaches to learning
  • Positive "school readiness risk profile"
  • Cognitive understanding and control
  • Positive play interaction behaviors at home and school
  • Emergent literacy
  • Working memory skills
  • Social-emotional learning
  • Attention span persistence

Elementary School

  • Reading by third grade
  • <10 percent absenteeism in elementary school
  • High attention span and classroom participation
  • High scores on Social Skills Rating System
  • Social competence

Middle School

  • <20 percent absenteeism in the middle grades
  • Remaining at the same school through middle grades
  • Receiving no unsatisfactory behavior grades in sixth grade
  • Passing all ELA and mathematics courses
  • Passing Algebra I in eighth grade
  • Taking rigorous coursework in middle grades
  • High scores on the Grit-S and Grit-O scales
  • Social-emotional and decision making skills

High School

  • <10 percent absences
  • No more than one failure of ninth-grade subjects
  • 3.0 High School GPA
  • FAFSA completion
  • Meeting state and national benchmarks
  • Participating in summer bridge programs & senior year transition courses
  • Few school transfers between grades
  • PSAT
  • Meeting with academic advisor

Post Secondary and Beyond

  • Completion of mathematics, English and career exploration courses
  • Experience and orientation programs
  • 15 credits per quarter
  • 3.0 GPA
  • Immediate enrollment after high school graduation
  • Working less than 15 hours per week
  • Participation in extracurricular activities
  • High educational expectations for self
  • Vocational intent

Day Two

Personal Narratives

Senior Seminar Assignment: Write Two Personal Narratives


In class pre-writing

In class work time

In class peer review

Due Date:


Read or listen to a This I Believe essay...

Personal Narratives can be about Hair Dye or Skin Color or Passion...but they all tell more then a story, they are an opportunity to get to know someone.

When you read or listen to a personal narrative consider what you learn about the author. What qualities, characteristics and values construct the author?

Newsweek "My Turn" essays are also an example of a personal narrative.

Your Personal Narrative could win you $5,000 for college!

Lets Start Writing

While using this prompt do not worry about being creative, simply write what is true. Place can mean anywhere you spent time...your bedroom, a tree house, a hammock, swimming pool, car, airplane, fort, barn,...the possibilities are endless...

Start by:

List Three places from your early childhood (ages 3-6)


List Three places from your childhood (ages 7-10)


List Three places from your middle childhood (ages 11-13)


List Three places from your current youth (ages 14-18)


Now select one place from three different ages

Next to each place selected write the sensory details you experienced at that location

Sensory Details: Sight, Sound, Smell, Touch, Taste

Choose one place to describe using the sensory details you selected...

If that prompt was of little help try writing a "This I Believe" essay

This I Believe Essay-Writing Guidelines

We invite you to contribute to this project by writing and submitting your own statement of personal belief. We understand how challenging this is—it requires such intimacy that no one else can do it for you. To guide you through this process, we offer these suggestions:

Tell a story about you: Be specific. Take your belief out of the ether and ground it in the events of your life. Consider moments when belief was formed or tested or changed. Think of your own experience, work, and family, and tell of the things you know that no one else does. Your story need not be heart-warming or gut-wrenching—it can even be funny—but it should be real. Make sure your story ties to the essence of your daily life philosophy and the shaping of your beliefs.

Be brief: Your statement should be between 500 and 600 words. That’s about three minutes when read aloud at your natural pace.

Name your belief: If you can’t name it in a sentence or two, your essay might not be about belief. Also, rather than writing a list, consider focusing on one core belief, because three minutes is a very short time.

Be positive: Please avoid preaching or editorializing. Tell us what you do believe, not what you don’t believe. Avoid speaking in the editorial “we.” Make your essay about you; speak in the first person.

Be personal: Write in words and phrases that are comfortable for you to speak. We recommend you read your essay aloud to yourself several times, and each time edit it and simplify it until you find the words, tone, and story that truly echo your belief and the way you speak.

Need More Ideas? Try some of these prompts

Day Three

Independent Work:

  • Personal Narrative
  • Master Checklist
  • Common Application
  • Personal Narrative Presentation

Day Four

Independent Work:

  • Personal Narrative
  • Master Checklist
  • Common Application
  • Personal Narrative Presentation

Day Five

Student Presentations: Personal Narratives