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The Case for Cohorts — Bringing Career Prep to the High School Arena

January 10, 2022
By Chris Roth

Meet three high school students: 

Kiara knows she wants to be a doctor. From a young age, she was fascinated by how the human body functions and heals, and had a strong desire to take care of those around her

Ethan loves art and has been doodling in his notebook since he was a kindergartner. He knows he wants to use his creativity in a meaningful career, but wants to explore multiple fields. 

Jack is just starting to evaluate his strengths and interests. He knows he enjoys connecting with others and wants to make a difference in people's lives, but he hasn’t thought much about how that might translate into a career.

Each of these teens is on a trajectory to a bright future! Whether your child knows exactly what career they want to pursue or is just beginning to explore their strengths and interests, they are on the right track. High school is the prime time for students to evaluate their unique strengths, talents, and passions, and to start turning these into tangible skills. 

Concordia Cohorts were designed to help them do just that, maximizing their potential in high school, college, and beyond. Based on their interests and goals, juniors and seniors have the option to join cohorts in the following areas: 

  • STEM 
  • Humanities 
  • Fine Arts

5 Key Benefits of Cohorts

1. Students have the opportunity to go deeper into content that is meaningful to them.

Every child needs foundational knowledge across all core subjects, but by the time they’re in high school, it’s easy to tell which subjects matter most to them. This is why high school is the optimal time to provide students with choice and voice in their education. Students who join a cohort focused on their favorite subject matter develop deeper knowledge and tangible skills for a likely career path, all while maintaining a zest for learning.

2. Students develop friendships with like-minded peers.

There’s something special about relationships that are founded on shared interests, and cohorts provide students with opportunities to make new friends. Students who are passionate about the same things can enjoy rich conversation, spend time together working on shared projects, and keep each other motivated while moving toward specific goals.

3. Students are mentored by adults who can guide them as they pursue future opportunities. 

High school students all have one thing in common — they want to feel known, heard, and valued. When students join a cohort, it allows their teachers to better understand their unique passions and creates opportunities for authentic mentorship. As students spend more time with the same teachers who are passionate about the same things, they feel a sense of belonging and purpose. Through monthly Cohort Conversations, they also get to network with industry experts who can help them identify future opportunities and inspire them about what’s possible. These lunchtime gatherings have featured many expert guests, including from 3M, Concordia University, the Guthrie Theatre, and Preemptive Love, a global humanitarian organization.

4. Students get real-life training in project management.  

In each cohort, the Senior Capstone Project is the result of hours of planning, time and project management, collaboration, and creativity. Throughout their senior year, students shape their Senior Capstone project, which looks different for each cohort: 

Arts - presented as a gallery exhibit or a public performance.
STEM - research project and paper designed for and entered into competition through the Twin Cities Regional Science Fair (TCRSF) organization. 
Humanities - student research is presented in a public exhibition.

5. Students become more competitive for college, internship, and job opportunities.

A focused high school education allows students to get a jumpstart on their resumes by building relevant experience early. Even if a student completely changes their mind about their career path, there is still value in receiving hands-on experience and training prior to graduation. Being a part of a cohort provides the type of meaningful learning and universal skill-building that colleges and future employers are looking for. 

Learn more about how Concordia Cohorts can open doors for your teen, and plan on attending our Winter Open House on February 10, 2022! If you have any questions, contact us at or (651) 796-2679.