Education is the basis of creating a life full of wealth and contentment. Obtaining a high school education can help one succeed in his or her future and give one the opportunities to pursue his or her aspirations. Unfortunately many students lack the education, resources and knowledge to enter adulthood after graduating high school. They are not sufficiently prepared to enter into the work force, succeed at a university, or have any understanding on how to be an ethical citizen. Students should be given the chance to develop a strong work ethic, be given the opportunity to explore different careers and college options, acquire skills that will help them in college and obtain an understanding of how their government works before graduating high school. A strong work ethic is obtained by developing a sense of independence and becoming dependable. Every year, if students’ reliance on teachers was decreased, they would be forced to rely on themselves to remember when coursework is due.
During my senior year at the high school I attended, El Molino High School in Forestville California, students in my English class were given a syllabus with an outline of the course and dates when homework was due. The teacher did not remind us when assignments were due, and we had to remember when work was due. In college, a student has to rely on himself or herself to take notes, remember when homework is due, and study on his or her own for exams. Therefore academic skills learned in high school should be similar to the skills required in a college classroom and those that people can use in their adult lives. Students graduating from high school should…be able to read with understanding classic literature and write well-organized and grammatically sound essays; they should know the basic outlines of American and European history, have a good beginner’s grasp of at least two natural sciences as well as pre-calculus mathematics (Gutting).
Having these basic skills and learning to become self-sufficient would make the transition from high school to career less stressful for those who decide not to attend college. Being independent and learning to rely on oneself will help one become more dependable, and in turn, a better employee. To strengthen a student’s work ethic, high schools should require students to rely more on themselves, which would help students become more independent. Students will not know what career they want to pursue once they graduate high school if they are never given the opportunity to investigate and experience different occupations. For students who have decided not to attend college, high school should be the institution where different careers can be explored.
High schools should have the responsibility of helping students find internships or job shadowing opportunities specific to careers students are interested in. At El Molino High School a career based project, during our senior year, was given so students had the opportunity to research the occupation they are interested in. They were then required to find an internship or a volunteer opportunity related to the career topic they had selected. Students could then find out what they liked and didn’t like about the career through first-hand experience and have more insight into whether or not they wanted to pursue that career after graduation.
For my project, I chose to volunteer at a convalescent center to gain experience in the nursing field. After the project was over, I knew nursing was the right career for me, and decided to pursue a degree in the health care industry. But if a career based learning project is not required, counselors should help students find internships, attend job fairs, and find classes that would be beneficial to the career a student wants to pursue. High school should be a place where students are given adequate preparation for the work world, whether they are attending college or not.
In high school, many students have no idea which college they should attend. Counselors should take the time to discuss with each student his or her plans for after graduation. The counselor and the student should then construct a list of universities that have programs corresponding with the degree the student wants to pursue. At the end of my junior year at El Molino High School, I met with my counselor and we created a list of ten colleges that had respectable nursing programs. Making the list helped me to narrow down my search and choose a college, but many students at my high school did not take advantage of the opportunity to meet with their counselor because the information about meeting was not broadcasted well. Meeting with a counselor when going through the college process is incredibly helpful. If more students made the effort to receive help from high school counselors and counselors made a better effort to reach out to all students when exploring college options, they would have an easier time choosing a university. High school should thoroughly prepare students who are planning to seek a higher education after graduation.
Academic skills learned in high school should be similar to the skills required in a college classroom. Developing adequate study habits is key to success in college. Studying for a couple hours every day, whether or not there is homework, should be second nature to a student when he enters college. Attaining proper note taking skills in high school and figuring out a format that best helps one study is a critical aspect to receiving good test grades. Some students do not have a chance to learn how to take usable notes. At Analy High School, which is a high school near El Molino, students were never taught how to take usable notes which made it more difficult for them to study for tests due to poor organization of the notes they did take. I taught one my friends from Analy the note taking styles I had learned. After he mastered the different styles and started taking organized and usable notes his grades improved.
A specific section in freshman English should teach students the different note taking styles. In my sophomore English class we were introduced to different not taking styles including the Cornell method, which I found was a very useful way to study for tests. Another element that should be incorporated into high school curriculum is different essay and paper formats. Many high schools only teach the MLA paper format, and do not cover APA, which is the format many college students are required to use for their papers. If core classes taught techniques that students could utilize in college, the transition between institutions would be less difficult. After graduating high school, students should have a general understanding of how their government works in order to become competent citizens.
According to Theodore Sizer “knowledge of the government to the extent the child will be equipped to make informed choices among persons and issues that affect his own governance” (119), is one of the general elements of an efficient education system. To make decisions when voting that will benefit oneself, he or she needs to be informed on all the candidates and propositions. When I was in Advanced Placement Government, my class spent a significant amount of the first semester researching candidates and understanding the propositions for the 2012 election.
Though few people were eighteen and had the ability to vote, reviewing the information in the voting packet helped us understand how the voting process works, and how to read the propositions thoroughly so we when we did vote, we could understand exactly what we would be voting for. All high schools should offer a course that helps students understand the voting process and sufficient information about the American government should be provided to all students before they have the capability to vote.
High schools should be able to sufficiently prepare students for their lives after graduation by giving them tools to develop a strong work ethic, explore colleges and careers, and understand how the government works. If students were given these opportunities for improvement in high school, the transition into an adult life would be easier.
Gutting, Gary. “What Is College For? (Part 2).” The New York Times: The Opinion Pages. 11 Jan. 2012. 17 Nov. 2013.
Sizer, Theodore. “What High School Is.” Reading Culture. White Plains, NY: Longman, 2011. 119.
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