Opinion | High school doesn’t prepare students for college

By Rachel Starcevich, Columnist

The transition from high school to college isn’t supposed to be easy, but it doesn’t have to be as stressful as we are made to believe it is. The common goal that modern high schools share is to help their students succeed and to get as many of them prepared for college as possible. Though the effort is understood, it is very much wasted. Instead, high school students are overprepared, and even scared into working unnecessarily hard for the wrong things.

High school teachers are strict about certain things ostensibly because they want them to be prepared. However, while students are taught to focus on academic and social “rules” created by nit-picky teachers, they end up being unprepared for the things that really matter. Instead of learning how to build a resume or file taxes, we learned how to write an essay in less than 45 minutes and to always walk on the right hand side of the hallway.

One example of a social “rule” is the enforcement of the dress code. While the sexist undertones of the rule are often debated, what isn’t really discussed is whether it is a good idea to put such restrictions on young adults in the first place. By regulating the clothing that students can wear, schools believe they are teaching students that they need to dress a certain way in the “real world.” But so far, I’ve found that to be untrue. Besides your employer, who is obligated to require you to represent your job professionally, no one cares what you wear – least of all what you wear to a college class.

In addition to the social rules high schools create, they also enforce academic ones. For example, many high schools require students to take certain classes that simply don’t fit for everybody. While it is understandable that everybody needs to learn math and English, nobody should be required to take a gym class for four straight years. High schools may believe they are preparing students for the future, but in reality, all it does is make them feel inadequate.

While high schools spend all their time enforcing nebulous rules, their students are suffering. They aren’t being taught about the things that really matter, like how to provide for themselves and be independent in college and beyond, and it’s time for that to change. For some people, it’s so difficult to be thrown into college and have to figure everything out as they go, and that intimidation steers them away from even attending college at all. While high schools may think they’re better preparing students for college, they could instead be discouraging higher education as a whole.

High schools need to do better. They need to be less concerned about putting pressure on students and instead focus on real issues students will face in the future.

Rachel is a freshman in DGS. 

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