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Choosing Your Path
Proctor’s Admission viewbook states “Which path will you choose?” As I scheduled my advisees for spring courses last week, I was reminded of the breadth of on- and off-campus programs Proctor provides. But why have we set up this kind of educational model? Afterall, It is very complicated to schedule and staff all the courses and programs we offer.

This is not a new approach for us at Proctor. It is not something we just decided to implement because current research continues to support this individualized approach to education. Our off-campus programs began in the mid-1970s and the unique combination of academic support and rigor have been part of our DNA since the 1930s.

Drew Noble Alexander, Headmaster at the Léman Manhattan Preparatory School, published this article in the Huffington Post on Friday. He leads his piece by stating, “A ‘seismic shift’ is occurring in education today, away from the one-size-fits-all learning model to educators recognizing that students bring to the classroom different learning styles, intelligence preferences and interests. They stress that the most effective schools incorporate these factors into their instructional planning.”

Alexander goes on to describe enrichment programs at his school, but he could very well be describing Proctor’s student body instead, “Students take ownership of what they are passionate about and what motivates them to become better students. Whether that comes in the form of learning another world language, dedicating oneself to becoming an All-American athlete, writing a collection of short stories, building a model skyscraper or amassing a mock stock portfolio, at the heart of it is a validation of the students' interests and support of their unbridled enthusiasm to learn and achieve.”

At Proctor there is no ‘right’ path for students to follow. In fact, you would be hard pressed to find two students who have taken the same exact path during their Proctor careers. What is most impressive to observe as a teacher and advisor is the willingness of our students to take ownership of the path they want to take during their time at Proctor.

As an advisor, I certainly have the opportunity to guide my students toward courses or programs I think they would find interesting, but ultimately students shape their own experience.

They are the ones who take risks by applying for and enrolling in off-campus programs that will stretch them well beyond their comfort zones. They are the ones who will push themselves to take, and find success in, advanced placement courses even though teachers at their previous schools had written them off as never being able to take an AP class. They are the ones who discover a passion for woodworking, or ceramics, or photography and pursue that avocation.

At Proctor, students shape their experience, we are simply here to encourage them to follow their hearts and to have confidence that the path they have chosen is worth traveling.
Proctor's Admission viewbook leads with the line, "Which path will you choose?"
Do you want your path to include metal engineering?
Or maybe economics?
Or high level math courses?
There is no right or wrong path to choose. The only mistake a student can make is to not take a course, go on an off-campus program, or engage in an afternoon activity because they are afraid of failing.