When you hear the word "high school," what is the first thing you think of? Some fondly recall their best friends and their past adventures. Others talk proudly about the sports teams they were on. Perhaps others chatter about their favorite teachers and classes.
When I think of the word high school, however, there is only one thought on my mind: how unprepared I was for college. The latter years of high school should be used as a preparation period for college, adjusting students and preparing them for the workload that is to come. Instead, it leaves pupils unprepared and vulnerable to the possibility of not doing well in college.
The stark contrast between the schedules of both institutions can send students such as myself into a culture shock. High school students are placed in a vice-like grip, forced to go through the same classes day after day. Instead of that monotony, students now find themselves having only one to four classes a day; some even have a few days off during the week. While some may view this extra time as a bonus, it also comes with consequences. Students may struggle with balancing a healthy social life with the heavier college workload. The temptation of wasting away precious studying time is too great when one has a plethora of it. Many high schools do not teach the concept of time management – a skill vital for succeeding in college.
Another key difference is the hefty amount of responsibility placed on students’ shoulders. At the beginning of a semester, college professors give out syllabi that outline dates for assignments, tests, etc. Students are then responsible for keeping on top of assignments by using the syllabus as their guide. While professors do warn students when larger assignments are closing in, smaller things such as homework or quizzes may never be mentioned during class.
High school teachers ensure on a daily basis that their students are aware of any work that needs to be completed or upcoming assessments. While it is helpful to have the guidance of teachers, it can also be hindering. Students can become used to having this constant reminder, so coming to college and having this responsibility dropped on them is overwhelming.
Possibly the most tragic part of the transition is that high school teachers are well aware of the differences, yet are stifled in any attempt to help students. Teachers do warn upperclassmen about the difficulty of the college workload, yet when it comes to actually preparing students for it, the strict standard of Common Core hinders teachers' chances of aiding their students. Teachers are forced to go through information and assignments quickly in order to meet test deadlines. Due to having to rush through lessons, teachers are incapable of making the workload match college-level assignments – making it so students will be unprepared for the heavier, more in-depth work.
“It is a lot harder than I was expecting. I mean, I knew it would be hard, but this is on a whole other level compared to high school,” said Maria Martinez, a freshman biology student.
The lack of preparation for college makes some college freshmen feel like they have been thrown to ravaging wolves with only a stick and their knowledge of MLA format to protect them. In order to ensure the future success of students, high school and Common Core curriculum needs to undergo numerous changes. High school must transform its curriculum format to act as a stepping stone for college instead of hindering a student’s chance for success.