Thursday, April 1, 2010

College Acceptance Day! April Fool's!

I have been working on a advertising strategy, researching websites and publications that would reach my target audience. My College Readiness Course is meant for, among others, high school seniors on the brink of starting college or university. I have been looking at high school counselors, independent college admissions counselors, publications and websites focusing on the admissions process.

I was impressed with the scope of the information provided by the sites I visited: Improve your SAT/ACT! Write the perfect admissions essay! Choose the best-fitting college! What to do if you're wait-listed! Navigate student loans! How to survive residence life! Going through the massive amount of information and range of services that are available, I was struck that the one area, perhaps the most important area, that is not covered is the academic side of getting ready for college. Once you get in, figure out how to pay for it, and move in, you have to go to class, get the grades and graduate.

It's frustrating to me as a teacher that students (and their parents) spend so much time and money on getting into college, not trusting the high schools to help them in this area and yet trust that these same institutions are teaching the kids what they need to do or know in order to succeed academically outside of high school. The kids may have been over-achievers as high school students, passed all the appropriate state assessments, but we (in higher ed) know that that does not guarantee that the student is prepared for college. As an example, 2/3 of students in the California State system need to take remedial classes. And these are students who are graduating with at least a "B" average from high school (the minimum requirement to get into Cal State). With budget cuts, the Cal State System has ordered the end of remediation. So what is a student to do in order to succeed in college?

All over the country today, students have received acceptance (and rejection) envelopes (or emails). "Senioritis," if it already hasn't set it, takes complete hold of the students; the hard work is already done! We're in!

April Fool's!

The hard work, it hasn't even begun. Many students, despite doing everything "right," will find themselves overwhelmed and unable to get the grades they are accustomed to. They will find themselves pleading with the teacher, but I got (insert grade here) in this subject in high school! Seniors, take pride in your acceptances, enjoy the success, but know that it'll take more work than that in order to succeed in this next phase.

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