High school is not preparing students for college

Jo Breese, staff writer

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There is a serious debate taking place about whether or not high school actually prepares students for college. High schools are not about preparing a student for college, they are preparing someone to get into college. Schools are so focused on improving GPAs and having students get good test scores, that they forget to teach students how to actually be ready for college — things like how to take notes and study the material taught.
Most high schools do not offer challenging classes that help ease kids into the way college professors teach. High schools care more about students passing standardized test and graduating than preparing them to handle the stress and workload of college.
Students often do not take any classes that challenge the or prepare them for college. In fact, the Hechinger Report, which covers innovation in education through in-depth journalism and research, reported that only 47 percent of American high school graduates take either a college ready course or career ready course. Even worse is that, according to The Education Trust, a national nonprofit that works to close opportunity gaps that disproportionately affect students, reported that only 8 percent of graduates are ready to take on college courses.
Some people argue that high school helps prepare students by giving them large loads of homework, as students would be given in college. Teaching kids how to handle homework is a great thing, but high schools should not just be giving out homework. They should be giving kids progressively harder classes to deal with instead of just hammering on the homework.
Many college freshman say that the transition from high school to college is tough because of how high school allows second chances, such as late work or test redos. Most college professors do not allow late work or trest retakes. In high school, you can just spend a whole week not studying and look at a study guide the night before and ace the test. College requires way more effort to be put in to receive a good grade and pass a test.
Many critics point to a study done in Canada in 2010 that says that of 78 percent of kids in 12th grade feel they are ready for college. While these students may feel ready, college will still hit them hard. They may not drop out, but many have a tough time transitioning.

This rough transition period could be easily mitigated if high schools focused more on college preparations then GPA. Perhaps Cactus Shadows should consider what the U.S. Department of Education’s guide to preparing high school students for college recommends:

  1. Offer a college preparatory curriculum and make sure that, by ninth grade, students understand academic requirements for college entry and success
  2. Use assessment throughout high school to help students understand their relative readiness for college, and help them address any identified deficiencies
  3. Surround students with people — adults and peers — who build and support their college-going aspirations
  4. Help students complete required steps for college entry
  5. Increase families’ financial awareness and help students apply for financial aid

Regardless of how it is done, it is clear that we need to be doing a better job helping students succeed in college.


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