What to Expect With CHOICES

What Can Students Expect from CHOICES?

For many students, the opportunity to spend time with a person from the business community in a relaxed, friendly, but structured manner will be a first-time experience that will broaden their perception of what to anticipate after graduation.

CHOICES Covers a Wide Range of Topics

Becoming acquainted with the pressures, influences, expectations and environments affecting "Who I am."

Making thoughtful decisions about my future.

Learning about decisions and their consequences.

Exploring time and money management.

Relating academic decisions to career consequences.

Increasing options in an uncertain world.

Learning to think beyond myself.

Making a plan to take charge of my life.

Obtaining the "Key to Success."

Factors Influencing Who I Am
In the first segment each student is given a fortune cookie card containing one factor-attitude, goals, appearance, self-discipline, neighborhood, gender, interests-affecting who and what they are. Students read one "fortune" at a time or offer contributions of their own as the seminar leader lists factors on the board. About thirty factors are discussed and students are asked to distinguish between those which cannot be changed and those which are under their personal control. Students discover that more than half of the factors affecting them are under their individual control, and can be impacted by their thoughtful choices.

The CHOICES Challenge

In this module the discussion leader introduces a series of situations, asking two volunteers to choose their course of action, and pointing out that one can learn to anticipate the consequences of a particular decision before acting. Objectives and goals must be balanced with individual priorities and short and long-term opportunities.

Time Management

After taking the class through a typical school week's time schedule, students discover that about 62 hours, or 35 percent, of a student's time is open to their control. Students are then asked to think about whether two hours a night spent on homework-leaving about 48 hours, or two whole days free-is too much to ask of themselves. A lively debate on the value of homework supports the notion that the students are in control of, and responsible for, their futures.

Money Management

During this exciting exercise, a volunteer student is selected to portray a high school dropout who has just received his/her first paycheck. Classmates are then designated as the IRS, Landlord, Grocer, Utility Person, etc. Appropriate "bills" are then "paid" to demonstrate the realities of what it costs to live. For many students it's their first encounter with what it takes to run a household.

The Time of My Life

The second day begins with a review of Day One, followed by the
introduction of a timeline reflecting the number of years students spend in primary and secondary education, compared to the rest of their lives. Students quickly realize that their decisions today will impact them for many years to come.

Strategy For An Uncertain World: Increase Your Options

Another role-play exercise during this segment of the program illustrates typical careers and incomes that can be expected to follow from different levels of academic achievement. Job satisfaction, creativity and freedom are all factors that increase along with income as the student's level of achievement increases.

The discussion leader demonstrates how education increases life options. He or she adds that what is expected of students at school will also be expected of them in the world of work, i.e., performance, attendance, and positive relationships.

Future Impact

During this exercise students are asked to look beyond themselves. Using a Future Impact worksheet, each student answers the question, "How could increasing my education
affect me, my family and my friends, both now and in the future." Students then consider and discuss how their academic decisions today might even impact thei rcommunity, country or the world.

My Plan to Take Charge of My Life

In this final module the Presenter reviews the content of the complete seminar, and then introduces a plan whereby students can put into action the concepts they have learned. Through this goal-setting exercise students can create their own personalized plan to take charge of their future, with weekly check-in sessions to assess their progress. At the end of this segment each student is given a "Key To Success" as a reminder of the choices they make in their lives daily.

What About Program Follow-Up?

Program follow-up is an important part of the CHOICES seminar. The primary vehicle for this follow-up is the CHOICES Action Plan, a one-hour classroom session led by the host teacher, preferably on the day after the CHOICES presentation. The lesson takes students through a goal-setting process that helps them plan for their future. It includes a preliminary homework exercise that can be assigned by the teacher at the end of the CHOICES presentation.

How Much Does It Cost?

CHOICES costs an average of $5 or less per student. Each seminar takes less than 2 hours to present. Volunteer training requires less than one day. CHOICES is a small investment with a big return.

How Does The Program Work?

CHOICES is delivered by trained volunteer Presenters from the business community. It is typically presented in two class periods-one period each on two consecutive days. We recommend that
all same-grade level students in a school be covered, and that
the seminar be presented on consecutive days so that students will share common information for out-of-class discussions.

Student Comments About CHOICES

"I have thought a lot about dropping out, but since you came and talked about how important school is, I have changed my mind. Thank you."

"I had always been avoiding my future because I didn't know where to start. This presentation helped me find that place."

"I learned that dropping out of school ain't worth it because you won't have a good job or life."