High school students today are all excited about post-college life, which for most means going away to college to further their education. The question is, are they truly being provided the necessary tools needed to be successful at the college levels? Are teachers, counselors, parents and the government both state and federal doing enough to lead these young minds out into the world? We all know how expensive college is and that only a small amount will graduate college and go on to live the life the always dreamed, but without a college education the odds are far worse.
So shouldn’t every student who has aspirations of going on to college be awarded a little more preparation? The bottom line is we being parents, teachers, counselors, and the government needs to have better programs available for high school students so that the transition, that is already hard enough, is a little easier; as Benjamin Franklin once said “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail. ” (www . goodreads . com) The National of State Legislature defines college prep programs as “programs aimed to increase college access, particularly for those students who are least likely to enroll.
These programs take many forms and serve a variety of students. Some start as early as elementary school, others in the senior year of high school. Some college preparatory programs focus on increasing academic readiness, while others specialize in college admissions or financial aid. Some involve families and mentors, and others incorporate service learning or recreational activities. ”(www . ncsl . org/issues-research) What I want to know is where are these programs being used and what are they?
In 2007 the NY Times published an article stating that only a quarter of high school students who take a full set of “college prep” courses which include four years of English and three each of mathematics, science and social studies are well prepared for college according to a study by the ACT, and the Iowa testing organization. The study examined about 1. 2 million students who took the ACT, which is one of the country’s major college admissions tests, along with the SAT, and graduated from high school June of 2008.
The study projected whether students had a good chance of scoring a C or better in introductory college courses based on their test scores and the success rates of past students who had taken it previously. It showed that only 26 percent of those who took the core curriculum were ready for college level work in all four of the “college prep” core areas.
Another 19 percent were not satisfactorily prepared in any of them. “While taking the right number of courses is certainly better than not, it is no longer enough,” the report said. ”(www . nytimes . com) This quote really hits the nail on the head; just like how today’s Bachelor’s Degree is the equivalent of the high school diploma 20 years ago.
This is an important issue in our society today, we want our young people to go to college to better their education but we can’t help them along the way. So how did it get to be so bad well in April 1983 the Secretary of Education and United States Department of Education saw that America ranked in the bottom half of education in the world so Ronald Regan declared “Nation At Risk” which kick-started decades of tough talk about public schools and reforms that culminated in 2002’s No Child Left Behind, the Bush administration law that pushes schools to improve students’ basic skills or face ever-tougher sanctions.
Jay Summer, an original teacher on the 1983 panel says “A true Cold War document, it famously stated: “If an unfriendly foreign power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war. As it stands, we have allowed this to happen to ourselves. ” (usatoday30 . usatoday . com/ “In 1999, Clifford Adelman, then a researcher at the federal Education Department, found that the strength of high school work was the most important factor in determining college success, more than the socioeconomic status of a student’s family.
The new report, which cites Mr. Adelman’s research, makes the case that many high school courses are not providing the necessary quality that he described. ” (www . nytimes . com) According to the National Center for Educational Statistics and a study done by the Harvard Graduate School, of the students who graduated college in 2011, only 56 percent graduated with four year degrees but took them six years. Also of those students in the same class 78 percent failed to receive a diploma at all.
This study also showed the reasons for dropping out; which student claimed, “not being prepared for the rigors of academic work; inability to cope with the competing demands of study, family and jobs; and cost” (www . reuters . com/article/2012)
What we see here is that there have been attempts to make things better but they have slowly helped create the mess we have today. I have three points that will hopefully show how we can better this situation we are currently in. My first claim is that if we continue to ignore the fact that students today aren’t prepared for the struggles that await them at college then the dropout rate will continue to rise and effect the country as a whole.
If students aren’t prepared for college then they either don’t go or most likely drop out. This affects the economy because if you have thousands of students not getting the proper education which leads to no jobs or low paying jobs, then the country can suffer. This leads to less students getting out into the work force or having very low paying jobs in which they can’t afford their monthly loan payments or other basic needs. With the economy being the way it is we can’t afford to let this happen. My second claim is that statistics show students who take extra or AP level courses perform better in college.
In my high school there were luckily many extra courses available to help prepare us for college. I took College level English throughout my four years of high school. When I got to college and took the required English 101 course it was almost a mirror image as what I had previously taken. I was one of the few students who knew what MLA format was and how to use it in a paper. My school also offered AP Government, Calculus, English, Music Theory, which I also took, and Physics. I’m now in my third year of college and doing really well for myself.
This just goes to show what students can achieve with a little more preparation. Students put more pressure on themselves than ever before trying to achieve their goals. It’s up to us to take some of the pressure off them and give them a push in the right direction with more groundwork. My last claim is that students who finish college will have a better future for themselves and a family.
Even with student loan debt at a high point these days with an education more financial opportunities are made available to students to deal with the burden of student loan debt. A degree from a technical institute is still better than a high school diploma.
My cousin was a college dropout with two kids and no father to help support them. She worked two and three jobs sometimes just to keep her family afloat. One day she decided to take night classes at the local community college. Three years later she has an Associate’s degree in business and is making $20,000 more a year working only one job as opposed to three. She is more financially stable now and not so stressed all the time. Students may think that a high school diploma is enough but the sad truth is you can get the same jobs with a high school diploma that they are giving to 15 year olds at McDonalds.
So what I’m trying to say is that if we don’t act now more students will continue to go down a road not knowing that they could have had more help. Education is the key to a better life for you and for a possible family which means better jobs and financial status, which today a lot of Americans lack. Of course some argue that a degree is the wrong path “Michael Nelson, 22, of Fayetteville, Georgia, “retired” from nearby LaGrange College during his freshman year. “I knew it wasn’t going to take me where I wanted to go,” he says. Now a gold and precious metals dealer, he made $85,000 in 2011.
“A lot of my friends are coming out of school with $50,000 in debt,” Nelson says. “They don’t know how they’re going to survive because they don’t have a job. “” (www . reuters . com/article/2012) For some select few this is the case. But this is a rare case of someone who just happens to have a job fall in their lap. It is true that many high school graduates that never attended college or dropped out are doing just fine. Coal miners can make upwards of 100k and I’ve never met a coal miner who attended college. On the other hand I’ve never met a CEO or brain sergeant with high school diplomas.
Statistics show that the average college graduate will make $19,550 more a year than someone with a high school diploma according to the U. S. Census Bureau. Also college students need to understand that the economy will not be this bad forever. If we can recover from the Great Depression then we can certainly find a way to fix this financial crisis. Today it’s tough for all people, including college graduates, to find a job and make a decent living.
Many students believe that their best option would be to take a semester or two off from college for only a brief period of time and enter the workforce or the military. The military’s financial benefits are very pleasing to young adults when they consider loan forgiveness programs and tuition compensation.
The appeals of the military look great to college students that still believe that nothing bad can happen to them, but the reality of the dangers that young people face while serving abroad are very costly as most of us hear about on the news every week. Another reason kids shouldn’t chase the American dream of a college diploma is that they realize they don’t want the headache of the debt that most every college grad deals with.
They know they can’t declare bankruptcy off of student loan debt so what other option do they have? Yet for some students, dropping out with loans can be worse than dealing with the debt. “Many college dropouts will face career barriers due to the lack of a degree, experts say. Current unemployment statistics show that those without a college degree are twice as likely to be unemployed as those with a bachelor’s degree. One way students and families can tilt the equation in their favor is to simply spend less, experts say. ”
“If students are more reasonable and selective about where they’re going to get that degree, college costs are more manageable,” says Eleanor Blayney with the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards. “At the very least they can do the first two years at a community college and then transfer. “” (www . reuters . com/article/2012) So what we can see is that college is definitely the better route to take if you want a stable future.
In conclusion there needs to be more or better programs for students who wish to attend college and succeed in life. You have seen the attempts made by the government to make it easier for students to learn and become better prepared for college, but the recent studies shows a negative effect on the youths of today and possibly the youths of tomorrow. You have also seen a couple of reasons why I believe better programs will increase students’ academic levels in college; plus opposing arguments from those who think college is a waste of time and money and will only leave you in pile of debt.
This in fact is far from the truth and leads me to believe that only people without a proper education could make such an accusation. Finally I hope that soon everyone who has the power to get involved in helping the future leaders of America will step up to the plate and take responsibility for the welfare of these young minds.
The sad part is that the ones this affects the most, being high school students, have little to no say in the matter. The Obama administration has shown they have a huge interest in education with cutting student loan debt and making school lunches healthier. I can only hope this very important topic is next on their next to do list. Every student deserves a fair chance to achieve and it’s about time they get some. Franklin, Benjamin. “goodreads. ” http://www . goodreads . com/quotes/tag/preparation. © 2012 Goodreads Inc. “College Preparatory Programs. ” http://www . ncsl . org/issues-research/educ/college-preparatory-
programs-types-of-programs . aspx. ©2012 National Conference of State Legislatures Arenson, Karen W. “Study Finds College-Prep Courses in High School Leave Many Students Lagging. ” http://www . nytimes . com/2007/05/16/education/16report . html? _r=0. May 16, 2007 Plitt, Todd. “’Nation at Risk’: The best thing or the worst thing for education? ” http://usatoday30 . usatoday . com/news/education/2008-04-22-nation-at-risk_N . htm. Copyright 2011 USA TODAY The National Commission on Excellence in Education.
“A Nation at Risk: The Imperative for Educational Reform”http://datacenter . spps .org/uploads/SOTW_A_Nation_at_Risk_1983 . pdf. April, 1983 Carlozo, Lou. “Why college students stop short of a degree. ” http://www . reuters . com/article/2012/03/27/us-attn-andrea-education-dropouts- idUSBRE82Q0Y120120327.
Tue Mar 27, 2012 “College Students Should Stay in School. ” http://bestessayhelp . com/examples/education/college-students-should-stay-in-school- %E2%80%93-essay-sample. © 2010 – 2012 Global Writers Limited “Summer at Georgetown”. http://scs . georgetown . edu/programs/107/summer-programs-for-high- school-students-college-preparatory-program. © 2012 Georgetown University School of Continuing Studies.