College and Academic Planning at GWUOHS

Each student at The George Washington University Online High School (GWUOHS) works closely with a counselor and advisor to ensure a successful high school and college experience. Counselors and advisors work to provide each student with an Individualized Academic Plan and intensive, personalized college counseling and planning.

Students & Their Advisors

Students receive an academic advisor as soon as they’re enrolled at GWUOHS, and students meet them very shortly after joining the student body. It’s the advisors’ responsibility to work with their students around course planning, taking into account each student’s goals and aspirations and supporting the whole student—socially, emotionally, and academically.

Advisors stay with the student throughout their tenure at GWUOHS.

  • Facilitate consistent check-ins with each family: weekly with their students and monthly with Learning Coaches (parent or other responsible adult)
  • Carry small case loads
  • Act as a liaison among families, teachers, counselors, and administrators
  • Hold monthly Advising Assemblies, Homeroom Huddles, and other student-centered events
  • Provide flexibility in communication style based on student needs (email, Skype, phone, text)
  • Encourage a school-life balance
  • Monitor student grades and create Student Success Plans as needed
  • Support yearly goal aetting
  • Assist with creating personalized daily/weekly schedules
  • Focus on relationship-building
  • Incorporate social emotional learning (SEL) curriculum
  • Promote a strong GWUOHS student community

The Individualized Academic Plan

When students enroll, they work closely with their advisor and counselor to develop an Individualized Academic Plan (IAP). These plans include detailed course schedules and carefully mapped-out, personalized learning strategies that reflect assessments of skills, aptitude, and future goals.

These plans are revisited at the end of each semester (as well as on an as-needed basis or when requested by a Learning Coach). They are updated as necessary to reflect a student’s progress and goals accurately.

The IAP reflects a student’s learning style, focusing on strengths and areas of challenge and giving us insight into goals and aspirations. If a student struggles with their work, we can offer them help; if they’re ready to move on, they can.

The IAP organizes and properly sequences the student’s coursework. For example, your student may be particularly strong in math; GWUOHS can flexibly accommodate the level of math that’s right for your student and provide additional opportunities for advanced study and enrichment. This helps put your student on a solid path for admission to a suitable colleges that match your student’s goals and abilities.

Student wearing a headset and working with her tablet
Student working with her laptop

Student Goal Setting

Each year, students are asked to create 3 SMART goals—one academic, one social, and one emotional. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time Specific.

At GWUOHS, we aim to educate the whole child, and encouraging our students to set and work toward these individualized goals allows them to branch outside of their comfort zones and promote their personal growth while still accomplishing something reasonably achievable.

At the start of the school year, goals are entered into Naviance as one of the assignments in each 8th-11th grade Journeys Symposium class. Academic Advisors monitor goal progress monthly. If students are not set to meet their goals, advisors work with them to determine what is preventing them from reaching their goals and then help them develop a plan to get back on track.

Students will create a goals presentation at the end of each school year in their Journeys Symposium class. Their presentation allows students to showcase their journey to achieving their goals, including successes, setbacks, and whether they met their goals. 

New goals are created each year (8th–11th grade) as an assignment in the students’ Journeys Symposium course.

College Planning & Preparation

GWUOHS students also have a dedicated college counselor to ensure that the college counseling they receive during their high school years is at its best. GWUOHS counselors seek to educate and inspire academically talented and motivated students who are looking to be a part of a school community that values and cultivates hard work, integrity, appreciation of diversity, love of learning, compassion, and high personal expectations—all values that can continue to serve our students long beyond their graduation from GWUOHS.

Working With Our College Counselors

Our college counseling efforts also uphold these values. The College Counseling Department at GWUOHS is dedicated to helping students find the college or university that will align with their interests, passions, and talents. Our counselors develop, complement, and evaluate our comprehensive counseling program to guide students year by year to prepare for the journey of college selection. GWUOHS counselors work together on program design, assessment, direct and indirect services, advocacy, support, data collection, and assessment. 

Our college counselors:

  • Checkmark iconSchedule new and returning students’ courses
  • Checkmark iconDevelop and update Journeys Symposium course curriculum
  • Checkmark iconTeach the Journeys Symposium course
  • Checkmark iconFacilitate and assist dual enrollment with partner institutions
  • Checkmark iconUtilize Naviance tools to support student learning and postsecondary plans
  • Checkmark iconProvide guidance and support related to postsecondary planning
  • Checkmark iconTrack student outcomes
  • Checkmark iconCollaborate with parents, staff, and other stakeholders to promote student success
  • Checkmark iconAre assigned by grade level to ensure our counselors have in-depth knowledge of the developmental and postsecondary needs by age/grade level
  • Checkmark iconSupport individual students’ mental and emotional health
  • Checkmark iconOffer schoolwide and grade-level-specific assemblies

Our counselors offer their support in many ways, including individual meetings, assemblies, newsletters, and through teaching the Journeys Symposium course. Counseling services also include:

  • Checkmark iconCollege counseling ClassConnect sessions
  • Checkmark iconAsynchronous advisement and support from the GWUOHS college counselor
  • Checkmark iconCollege and career assemblies
  • Checkmark iconParticipation in individual consultation modules with the GWUOHS private school college counselor on topics such as NCAA eligibility, college admissions testing, the college application process, financial aid, college selection, and more
  • Checkmark iconCourse planning
  • Checkmark icon1:1 follow-up advisement and support from a GWUOHS college counselor
  • Checkmark iconSpecial sessions throughout the school year from top admissions officers and financial aid experts
  • Checkmark iconAccess to the proprietary Naviance, GWUOHS Family Connections site

Naviance is used by more than 5,000 schools worldwide and assists users with college planning and career exploration. It engages students, enhances communication between GWUOHS and families, and supports our “college-going culture” to promote student success. It allows students to build a college list, target needed GPA and SAT/ACT ranges, enhance their portfolio, define college costs, and locate financial aid.

How the Journeys Symposium Helps Our Students Prepare for College

The Journeys Symposium course helps psychologically and emotionally prepare students for college as well as provides them with the support to complete the tactical steps of the college application process. 

The Journeys Symposium is a robust, five-year sequence of courses that covers multiple topics that prepare students for college, their careers, and life ahead. Students are given assignments in their Journeys Symposium class related to finding scholarships, drafting the college essay, taking surveys/inventories on career interests and personal strengths that could translate into future careers, completing a service learning project, setting goals, and so much more. 

The content of the course varies by grade level to ensure students are pacing toward a successful college application season. In the 12th grade Journeys Symposium, the fall is devoted to the college application process step by step. The spring is committed to our seniors’ culminating experience, the Capstone Project.

How the Capstone Project Helps Our Students Prepare for College

The Capstone Project is a chance for our seniors to choose their topic for the project and work on something directly related to an area they’re interested in, their potential major in college, or a career aspiration. The student’s counselor must approve the topic, but we encourage students to follow their passions and get creative.

Students work with a mentor to bring their projects to fruition. The final product could be a physical item, skill, demonstration, presentation, or service. 

The Capstone Project helps prepare students for college or their careers by giving them practice in networking, following strict deadlines, public speaking, and more. At the end of the year, awards are presented for Capstone Projects—something students can proudly add to their résumés.

ACT/SAT Preparation

Email icon

Lisa Bell

Email icon

Kristen Belcher

Get Started With GWUOHS Today

Join a community of students and families reaching for and achieving their goals every day. Join an info session to learn more, or take the first step toward enrollment!