If you have attended college, did you feel prepared once you found out what it was like? If you haven’t attended college do you feel like you are being prepared for what you imagine college to be like? If you have answered No, to one of these two questions I feel the same way.
As a college freshman I have been introduced to an entire new lifestyle. Most people go in thinking that classes will be like high school just bigger classes; because their teachers were “preparing them for college” the entire time they were there. I felt this exact same way going into my freshman year, what I soon found out though was most ordinary classes (not lectures) are the same size and a lot of times even smaller than the classes in my high school. I also realized that college was quite different from high school; I knew I could skip whenever and no one would smack me on the wrist. What I didn’t realize is that I was going to have to eat, drink, and sleep thinking about school work.
In high school I would be told two weeks ahead you have a test coming up over “blah blah blah” in college you are given a syllabus with all exams, quizzes, and project/papers due dates listed. The teachers don’t say, “Alright class, next Friday you will be turning in your final draft of your essay.”
In college you walk in and the teachers say, “Alright class, everyone needs to hand in there essays. If you don’t have it than it is a zero.” It’s the same with exams; you come in knowing you have an exam because you were given the date the very first day of class. The teacher does not tell you the night before to remember that you have a test the following day. This was one major thing I had to get used to, the independence of keeping my classes in line with no one else’s help. One major bit of advice is to keep an agenda with every assignment and test plugged in from day one.
In high school you are treated very lightly and they claim to be preparing you for college. Therefore as a student you believe that you are being prepared for college. When asked if upon graduation he felt prepared for college, Cole Gilbert answered, “I felt good upon leaving high school about taking on college. I thought I had been prepared adequately, especially being enrolled in tougher classes.”
A lot of high school students do not have to work very hard to get their standard diploma. It is more of a show up, listen in class, do your classwork, and you have easily passed the class. There is not much required outside of your everyday class work. If there is than it is typically pretty simple, just busy work in attempt to keep students minds on classes outside of school. Though this is not enough to prepare them for what they will encounter once they have enrolled in a higher education school or university.
According to Cato.org Public School Grads Unprepared for College, Work 39% of 1,487 students surveyed said that they were not prepared for college. Of the students who said they were extremely prepared for college 31% of them still had to take remedial level courses their first year of college.
This shows that there is a major lack of preparation for high school students in the US because students who believe to be prepared are still taking remedial classes. I believe one way to better prepare students for collegiate level courses is they need to be pushed much harder in their local high schools. From self-experience I believe one way students could be prepared better for college is by giving them more work to do outside of the classroom. As a high school student you will hate that statement but once in college, it begins to settle and make more sense. When I asked Gilbert if he felt like he had a lot of homework consistently, and if he felt the need to study much for tests he stated, “I felt as long as you paid attention in class and did the homework you were fine, and I barely ever felt overloaded with homework, it was very sporadic.” This shows that students do not have much work to do outside of the classroom which is the complete opposite of what they will find when beginning college. Gilbert believed he was prepared for college upon graduation, but when asked if he had changed his mind after attending college he stated, “My first semester of college, I realized I wasn’t nearly as prepared as I thought. I found it hard to study and didn’t feel like my study habits had exactly been brought up to par.”
With these statements from Gilbert I decided to ask another student whom attended a different school in a completely different state. Diana Ortiz states, “After being in college, I felt high school prepared me following the first couple of quizzes and tests. It was hard but it wasn’t impossible and I thought that was the goal.” She followed this up with, “I could have been better prepared by being worked harder. Even though I enjoyed senior year being easy, college is not. It gets a lot harder really fast and doesn’t really work into it.” With this being said it seems to me that high schools intensions are good. They want to help their students get into college and succeed. However they do not seem to be preparing students for the work load they are going to be given.
When beginning, college students are not ready for the amount of work it takes to succeed. There is a lot of free time in college, student are not going to school for a full seven hours a day five days a week as they do in high school. The average student takes about twelve credit hours each semester. This means they are in class about twelve hours a week, which is about twenty three hours less than they are used to in high school. With this the average amount of time spent in the classroom is shortened by 66% a week. That means students are gaining less in the classroom and must spend more time studying and doing homework to retrieve the information needed to pass their courses.
I believe in order for students to be more successful in college teachers need to push students harder not only in the classroom but outside the classroom. A lot of teachers take it easy because students have sports and extra circular activities outside of school. But when it comes down to it, making their time management easier is not a way to help them. By forcing students to manage their time wisely with more on their agenda, is a huge part in their success. This is because students will have a lot of free time and probably lose track of what they are actually in college to do; or they will have a lot of stuff to get done and not know how to manage their time sufficiently to get the work done on time. Therefore they need to know how to manage their time more wisely.
College is all about study habits, ability to manage time well, and the ability to accept the fact that you no longer have someone holding your hand throughout your every move, every day. Teachers need to be less of a friend to students and more of an authority figure. Teachers need to make their classrooms more like a college classroom. Students should feel as if they must study to succeed and not that they can kiss the teachers ass, show up, and get the grade. Gilbert gives one good example of how he believes schools could better prepare students for college, “Honestly, I think the teachers shouldn’t cut students as many breaks as they do for students. Minimal extra credit and AP courses should be set up more like a lecture-style class, no homework, your grade would be based off of tests alone, it’s kind of harsh, but that’s how college is, so you should prep for that, especially if you’re enrolled in AP courses. I think it would definitely help to develop students study habits, and help to get them in the habit of meeting with teachers for help and seeking tutoring.”
Ortiz followed right up on what Gilbert said with this statement, “Schools could incorporate the college type of learning and testing style more into their system. Schools grading periods and time between homework and quality of homework are very different.”
If schools worked on changing a few of these things students would leave high school much better prepared for college than they are now. It is time for students to go into college and look back at their high schools and think, “Wow, I hated that my teachers were tough when sitting in their classroom but now I realize why they were doing what they were doing.”