The Many Ways High Schools are Inadequate Preparation for College

By: Claire Jones

I grew up in a a large city, Mobile, Alabama. I also went to a large, highly-esteemed private high school, known for high ACT scores and high graduation rates. But what do these numerous statistics really mean? Does this automatically mean that these students are well prepared for college? No.

There are so many aspects to the way high schools are set up that make no sense if they are truly an attempt to prepare for college. One of the first that comes to mind is the schedule. In highschool you have each class, every single day, from relatively 8:00 am until 3:00 pm. Meanwhile, in college, you have only certain classes a day, at different times, often with gaps between. Highschool does little to prepare you for the time management that you will need with this type of schedule in college. I know coming to college with that many gaps of free time in my schedule was a difficult adjustment for me.

Another difference is in writing. In high school, papers are only assigned one or twice in a semester, while in college you are assigned a lengthy paper about every two to three weeks. The amount of at home work that is given in genral is a shock.

Self regulation was something that was a rude awakwning for me in college. In highshool, teachers are always checking in and keeping tabs on the students. I wish I would have had teachers before college that would have taken this approach rather than babying me, then throwing me into the real world. You go from classes of 30 people and a personal relationship with each teacher, to classes of 200 kids and maybe saying hello to your professor when you leave the room each day. In college your sucess is only on you, the decision is all your own.

And last but not least, online classes. Online classes are the most self regulating class you can take. My freshman year of college when I signed up for two online classes never having taken one before and not knowing at all what to expect. My first class was honestly a disaster, just because I had never been exposed to anthing like it.

There are so many aspects that Icould list, but overall, high schools could do so many things to help their students transition easier into their college experience. They need to begin to think about these aspects and make changes or many children will continually be left behind. The tests such as the ACT that are said to measure students preparedness for college, only checks their test taking skills, when that is only one of the small aspects that goes into succeeding in college.

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