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One of our teenagers just realized she could graduate from high school early because she only needs a couple of credits to meet the requirements. She’s only a junior, but she’s carrying a 3.9 grade point average and is mature for her age. When we parents presented a case that she may be bored sitting through high school next year only to accomplish a couple of credits and that she may want to consider starting college early, we realized we had an opportunity to apply a formal decision-making process with our daughter for such a decision with far reaching impact in her life. We talked about a pros and cons list, and we showed her some examples of the decision matrix that lists her choices and the factors impacting those choices and how she could weight each factor. Her decision is not done yet, but these tools can help her ponder her new future, clarify her thinking, make all the factors visible, and make her thinking process more rigorous. It was interesting watching her body language as the import of this decision sank in as she thought more about it. They were all normal factors like distance from home, time required for application, programs available, cost of tuition and room and board, etc. We’ll talk with her more after she’s had a chance to think about the impact of her various choices.

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KW Lanham


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