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Does High School Prepare Students for College?

Jaclyn Goldstein

What makes a high school student truly prepared for college?  In fact, what does it mean to be “prepared” for college? Is it being equipped to write papers, or take tests?  Maybe it is being ready to manage your time appropriately; perhaps it is a combination of all of these ideas.  Regardless, students have expressed a variety of different opinions when asked the question of whether high school prepared them enough for college.  In a poll of 57 students at C.W. Post, 27 students said they felt academically prepared while the remaining 30 students said they were not.  Surprisingly, the results were almost even, but why?

There may be numerous reasons as to why students do, or don’t feel prepared for college.  For students like Junior Childhood Education major, Vivian Espinosa, her school fulfilled its duties.  “High school prepared me for college with all the drama and workload” said Espinosa.  Similarly, senior Adolescence Education major, Jessica Pawloski, said, “Yes, I believe high school truly prepared me for college. I believe high school prepares the students who take advanced or college level classes, because it prepares them for the academic challenges they will encounter in their college years.  Some students who do not take accelerated courses simply have a difficult time adjusting in college.”

Pawloski raises a valid point; many students who do not take advanced placement classes may be at a disadvantage compared with those who do.  It is possible that non-AP courses do not challenge students enough to their reach their full potential.  Many students take AP courses in their junior and senior years.  However, while there are those who take advantage of their final high school years, there are those who do the minimum amount of work and end up with a severe case of senioritis.   Freshman Radiology major, Kristine Soto, said “I can say that high school partially prepared me for college.  The levels of work are practically the same but when it comes down to projects, it’s different not being constantly reminded of due dates.”  Soto expresses a common challenge that students face when making the transition from high school to college which is being guided by a syllabus rather than having the teacher making continuual reminders of when your assignments are to be completed..   This may be one of several issues that high schools could improve on in order to prepare their future college students.

In addition, it is no secret that teachers across the nation are being forced to prepare students for standardized tests.  Although proven ineffective, teachers spew out facts and information and expect students to memorize and regurgitate the material for the purpose of passing the mandated tests.  This issue could be one of the many reasons why some students feel a lack of readiness for college.  Instead of encouraging students to become life-long learners, teachers may be discouraging academic growth by emphasizing the wrong practices.  If a student spends their entire academic career repeating the same pattern of simply memorizing information and then erasing it from their minds the second they hand in their test, how is that preparing them for college?  There is no doubt that there are more than just a few reasons why students may not feel prepared for college.  It is certainly an issue that must be looked into deeply in order for the incoming freshman to have an easier transition.  A little over half of the students that were surveyed claimed that they did not feel academically prepared for college; this is an unsatisfying statistic that cannot be blamed on one sole person or reason.

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