Are high school graduates prepared for college?

julia kuhn, bear facts features writer

As seniors across the country receive acceptance or rejection letters from colleges, most only think about where they will be spending the next four years, not if they are ready to go to college.

            Nationally, the 2011 ACT scores showed about 75 percent of students failed to meet college readiness standards, according to a 2012 Wall Street Journal article. This data begs the question whether high school graduates nationwide are prepared academically to attend college.

            Cassie Houghton, 2012 graduate and Saint Louis University freshman, suggests LZHs students have little to fear. She said LZHS prepared her well for life after high school.

            “I definitely think Lake Zurich prepared me for college, in terms of the study skills, the writing skills, and analysis skills I learned from my time at Lake Zurich,” said. “I have been able to mange my college classes and workload well.”

            Houghton said the classes she took at LZHS gave her a strong foundation in many different subjects, which she can now apply to her current college classes.

            “The AP English classes I took junior and senior year taught by Mr. and Mrs. May definitely have helped me the most in college so far. My English class now is basically a repeat of the things I learned my junior year, and just by applying the skills I learned through these English classes, I’ve gotten A’s on all my papers thus far, and my professor has complimented me on my advanced writing skills,” Houghton said. “I’ve also used skills I learned in my senior year Statistics class, like creating samples, surveys, and tests in projects I’ve had to do for my Anthropology class…Since I learned a lot of the information already, recovering it in my college class has made the class easier and allowed me to focus more on the newer material rather than having to waste time learning it all.”

            Elizabeth Berton, 2012 graduate and University of Illinois freshman, agrees that LZHS prepared her well for college in terms of skills, but says she was not as well prepared for her major because LZHS did not offer did not offer some courses Berton wanted to take in high school.

            “I think LZHS prepared me for college because I developed good study skills and

was challenged in high school,” Berton said. “I wish I could have taken AP Psychology, but that was not offered when I was there.”

            This year, LZHS started offering AP Psychology, which Berton, who is majoring in Psychology, said she would have taken, given the opportunity. According to theInstituteofEducation Sciences, students should take courses in high school that correspond to their potential college major, in order to be better prepared and to confirm interest in that subject.

             To help students prepare better for college, Houghton recommends taking AP classes if possible. Although AP classes helped Houghton be prepared for college, according to the Education Sector’s website, only 14.2 percent of high school graduates earned AP credits in math or science. Whether or not students take AP classes, Houghton has sage advice to help students be more prepared for what lies after high school.

            “I’d say as hard as it is, do not procrastinate, because it’s a really bad habit that you cannot afford to carry on to college if you want good grades and sleep,” Houghton said. “And finally, don’t blow off a class [in high school] or write it off by thinking that you’re never going to need to know the information you’re learning ever again or you’re never going to use it ever again in your life because you’d be surprised, the most random stuff you learned in high school actually helps you out later in life, whether it be college or whatever.”