High school students seem to be reminded on a daily basis that college is always just around the corner. As an entering freshman, this can be terrifying -but after graduating, many students not and remember that time does actually fly in high school. Those four years go extremely quickly, and high schools should be using all available time to prepare students for what comes next.
Unfortunately, with standardized testing and programs like No Child Left Behind, high schools aren’t able to do what they once were for students. Forcing curricula to come to a near standstill in order to make sure the slowest students are caught up drags the brightest students back, leaving all students a mediocre mess in the middle.
The problem with standardized testing is that it holds all students to the same level of intelligence, yet even among people of very close IQ scores, the types and uses of that intelligence vary widely. Using one standard to measure the abilities of all students leaves most of them in strange places on the bell curve -and these results can be harmful to their secondary education options.
However, high schools aren’t all bad. Many of them offer advanced placement or honors classes wherein students are pushed to a higher standard of work that is often similar to that which will be asked of them when they reach college. The caliber of academic papers is expected to be higher, and students are required to work more independently. Having the ability to take more difficult classes on a variety of subjects gives students the opportunity to explore their interests further and develop their study skills, all things that will help them in college.
Another major benefit some high schools have to offer their students is dual enrollment. This allows students to attend a college or university and take actual classes with other college students. The best part is that it’s free. In making sure students are prepared for the demands of dual enrollment, high school teachers, and guidance counselors help their students prepare for college.
Even just talking to students in class will help them as they decide whether or not they want to attend college -and if they want to go, where. Helping students develop the appropriate study skills, organizational habits and the ability to handle strenuous workloads is one of the best gifts a teacher can give a student.
Offering encouragement, motivation, and challenges to students will all help them on their path to college. Teachers who have more difficult curricula in high school may get a bad rep for being tough, but in the long run, those are the teachers on whom successful college students will look back with fondness.
Despite the rigid structure of high school life, the drawbacks of programs that make it difficult for kids to excel and the short amount of time most students have in high school, teachers, guidance counselors and opportunities like dual enrollment are excellent in helping students prepare themselves for their academic life in college.