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Overcoming Adversity: Transition from High School to College

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High school is a very important part of everyone’s life or most people. But it eventually will come to an end and ready or not the rest of your life is in your hands. For some, college is the most reasonable step after obtaining a high school degree. And for some, it’s going straight to working a regular 9 to 5 shift or taking a break like a ‘gap year”. Which many do not recommend unless absolutely needed as one can lose interest quickly and not want to go to college at all. But many students struggle with the transition from high school to college. Each year, many high school seniors and many new freshmen struggle to adapt to the increased levels of schoolwork, being able to financially support themselves, and being away from home. It then sparks many questions such as: did high school really prepare us for this? Why am I even in college? And Why is college so different from high school? High schools are not properly preparing students for the ultimate ‘college experience.’ When one analyzes students entering college, one can tell they are lacking the basic skills necessary in order to be successful throughout their college experience. Skills such as being able to study, being able to memorize what they learned in class, process a lot of different information at once and test-taking abilities are not being properly taught to the students. High school did not prepare me for college for various reasons.

For the most part, high schools equip their students with the necessary information and tools needed for post-secondary education which is college. Many high schools offer Advanced Placement classes which are known as AP classes and College Credit Plus classes which can also be known as CCP. Advanced Placement and College Credit Plus courses are excellent opportunities to prepare high schoolers for the college courses that await them after graduation. Many college admissions officers consider AP courses as an indicator that the student has challenged themselves in high school. AP courses have a higher weight than honors courses in high school. These courses are credit eligible and often help bear the financial burden of costly college classes of course only if it applies to your major and prerequisites. One cannot receive the college credit if they do not obtain a grade level of 3 or higher on the AP exams at the end of the year. This does vary depending on the college you are attending and the AP course you are taking. Taking AP courses in high school gives you a little insight on what the college workload and pace is like as AP courses are pretty intense and do require additional self-evaluation. Like after you learn something, you do have to follow up on it and try to understand the concept by reading the textbook or watching YouTube videos on your own time. In order to take an AP class in high school one must have already taken the “regular class”. For example, if I want to take an AP course in high school for Biology, I would have had to already take regular Biology before my counselor will allow me to take AP Biology. Also, most AP courses are only given to upperclassmen such as juniors and seniors. Although special privileges are given to some sophomores but that depends on if the counselor thinks you can do it and if you had really good grades freshman year preferably 95 and above. Another good thing that high school prepares you for college is by helping you financially. Taking AP classes means paying $90 for an AP test and if you are able to get the grade needed for the college credits then it is equivalent to having to pay upward of $1,000 or more for the credit at a university. In the article

But aside from taking AP courses and giving out scholarships, there isn’t much that high schools do in order to help its students be financially prepared for college. In the article “ Transitions from High School to College” it stated, “Interventions to improve college readiness offer a variety of services, from academic preparation and information about college and financial aid, to psychosocial and behavioral supports, to the development of habits of mind including organizational skills, anticipation, persistence, and resiliency.” High schools should definitely devote more time to financial literacy or financial planning in their curriculums/courses. A course that can prepare and educate their students on budgeting, differentiating the differences between wants and needs, and being able to know what kind of jobs are out there for freshmen and especially the ones on campus such as work study and etc. But nothing too advanced, just something enough to inform us on personal finance knowledge and help incoming college students make wise decisions. In the article “Strategies to Prepare Middle School and High School Students for College and Career Readiness.” it stated, “In response to these concerns we have been engaged in a seven-year research study and program focused on building college and career readiness among adolescents.” If every high school focused on building college and career readiness, then incoming freshmen would be able to adapt to their new environment. It would be easier to know how to take notes during lecture classes, study tips. Also, more incoming freshmen would already be used to financial independence and would have a better understanding on what to spend their money on. Many incoming freshmen do not know that one can apply for financial aid and you that you need a certain GPA and also you have to keep that GPA throughout your four years or you will lose the financial aid and would be left to take out a private loan which leads to high interest and having alot of debt when one is out of college. Many students are not educated enough on financial literacy. Some know little to nothing about loans, and scholarships and it can be little as not knowing the difference between debit or credit cards.

The responsibility to adapt to the ultimate college life falls entirely on the person. If one failed to challenge themselves in high school and simply procrastinated a lot, it would be no surprise that the person might be struggling academically when they start their first semester in college. Teachers in high schools are nice individuals who try their best to help you out in class by describing everything in a very detailed way. Everything you need to know and will constantly state when something is due or where you can get help. In many colleges, the professors are indifferent and will not even try to get to know you like most high school teachers do. Some professors will not even know your name but that may be due to the class size and short amount of time they know you for. They also will put up homework online without even telling you it’s there. If you miss the due date then that is your problem because most of them have no sympathy but that might also be due to them having everything on the syllabus. A Lot of professors go on and on about always checking the syllabus but as a first-semester freshman not even knowing what a syllabus is, they should at least show some sympathy but nope. Welcome to the real world as most professors would say. The responsibilities of being a college student. In the article “ Getting Ready for College, Careers, and the Common Core” it stated, “Based on multiple research studies conducted by Conley as well as the experience he has gained from working with dozens of high schools that succeed with a wide range of students, the book provides specific strategies for teaching the CCSS in ways that improve readiness for college and careers for the full range of students”. If all high schools prepare their students by having them read the book that the students in the research did then it will guarantee to have students ready for college. High school definitely does not prepare us for college. Nobody will be holding your hands in college. You will have to learn how to teach yourself a lot of things but that is life. Professors are most definitely not going to slow down their curriculum for you. Also, in high school students literally take the same classes every day, which helps them to memorize the materials for each class but in college students have different classes on different days and most of the time they have to teach the material about the class to themselves. College is so much more intense than high school is. In college, you are mature and an adult so you will be treated as one but in high school, you are treated as a kid. High school does not prepare you for the fast pace of college.

Throughout a lifespan, everyone faces hardships. Overcoming adversity will lead to a sense in greater maturity. It is part of the cycle. Some freshmen are bound to struggle with the transition from high school to college more than others. High school cannot possibly prepare you for everything that will come in college and beyond. Everything takes time. In conclusion, High school does not prepare us for college.

Works Cited

  1. Conley, David T. Getting Ready for College, Careers, and the Common Core : What Every Educator Needs to Know . First edition., Jossey-Bass, 2014.
  2. Radcliffe, Rich A., and Beth Bos. “Strategies to Prepare Middle School and High School Students for College and Career Readiness.”
  3. The Clearing House: A Journal of Educational Strategies, Issues and Ideas, vol. 86, no. 4, Taylor & Francis Group, July 2013, pp. 136–41, doi:10.1080/00098655.2013.782850.
  4. Venezia, Andrea, and Laura Jaeger. “Transitions from High School to College.” The Future of Children, vol. 23, no. 1, Princeton University, Apr. 2013, pp. 117–36, doi:10.1353/foc.2013.0004.

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