How can high schools better prepare students for college and the real world
The plan is to do good in high school, finish college, get a high paying job, buy a house, get married, have children, and retire. Happy ever after, right? Wrong. The problem with this method is an example of the saying “easier said than done.
” This plan is corrupted with the first step – high school. Why, you ask? Because high school simply does not prepare students for college or the real world. You may say as you’re reading this, “no that doesn’t make sense,” but no matter how much you deny this fact that I am about to explain to you, you will soon realize that what I am telling you is true. Go back to your high school career for just one second. Now tell me, how often did you hear the phrase “When am I going to use this again in my lifetime?” I’m pretty sure we’ve all heard it many times. We’ve all taken those classes like Chemistry and Geometry, where we were pretty much convinced that we will never use this again in life.
That is incorrect if you’re going to be a chemist or a carpenter, otherwise, you’re pretty much right. I honestly believe that English was the only class that was absolutely needed for high school students. Of course there is math, history, and science, but only to a certain degree. The sad truth is that the classes that we are provided with in high school are to build our interests for college. I’ve learned a few life lessons in high school here and there, don’t get me wrong, but I am convinced that I will never use the majority of what I learned in high school ever again. When in high school did any of us actually learn how to pay taxes, balance a checkbook, how to handle a professional interview, or even learn how credit works? Even Bill Gates said that high schools in the United States are “obsolete.
” If one of the richest men in the whole world said that high school was obsolete, then there must be something wrong. Some of the more career oriented students may take college preparatory classes, but a lot of students don’t even know that resources like that exist. I personally didn’t know what college was going to be like until my first day in a college classroom. When are high schools going to make it mandatory for students to complete a college-preparedness assessment or have them complete a weekend college preparatory class? Advanced Placement classes are the closest things to a college-preparedness class, but even then it won’t make up for all of the different things you must adjust to during college. Developing skills such as time management are taught firsthand, but these skills will fade if they aren’t reinforced regularly.
Money management is another skill that is necessary to live well in this country. And what happens when credit comes into play? If most young adults don’t understand what credit is or how it works, when will they learn? They may end up learning the hard way and starting off with bad credit, and they shouldn’t be taught that way. I had a conversation with my family the other day about what they think of high school curriculums and they all had the same answer, “high school is a joke.” My mother, a high school dropout, is now a financial analyst and makes enough money to provide for four children, both her mother and father, her sister, my father, and two of her grandchildren. Being a financial analyst, she explained to me that she has to use a lot of math to make sure that her analysis’ are correct.
But she said that the level of math only goes up to basic algebra. My oldest sister, Erika, is a phone operator for Kaiser Permanente, and a college dropout after a year and a half. She told me that the job she is working now isn’t her dream job, but it is a job she doesn’t mind doing, and she makes a lot of money doing it. She also went on to say that she never had to use algebra, chemistry, or geometry ever since high school. My uncle, Leonard, a U.
S. army veteran, works as a network engineer and is a single father of two, and he says that he only uses basic math and basic algebra at work. He continued by saying “most things you are ‘required’ to learn, are things you will never use again.” My other uncle, Giovanni, has his own real estate company. He said that his communication skills, grammar skills, basic math, and computer skills are the only things from high school that he has ever needed. All four of them are great role models to me and they have all made it to their definition of “success.
” If I end up being a phone operator for some health company, a real estate agent, a business owner, or a computer networker, or financial analyst, then when am I going to use chemistry, biology, earth sciences, or European history? In college, some classes are required to be passed for each major, and this is acceptable because things like biology will be used in health care, and things like history will be used in arts to a certain point. But students in high school shouldn’t be forced to learn so much about a subject that they may or may not be interested in. Why learn the Pythagorean Theorem and why memorize the entire Periodic Table of Elements, if you’re going to end up being an English teacher or personal trainer? Why is it that high school students are forced to learn so much about subjects that a great portion of adults don’t use in the real world? And what happens when the students forget what they learned after the weekend or Summer break? Students will either realize that they love or hate a subject, but it doesn’t take one school year to figure out if they like it or not. High schools should have more classes that involve teaching students what is essential to live here in the United States. The sooner they learn what mistakes not to make and how to handle real world situations, the better.
Without the knowledge the skills necessary for the real world, juggling a career, maybe even a relationship, bill payments, and learning about taxes and mortgage are going to be hard to do. High schools must begin to teach students how to live in the real world, and less about how to find the angle of a triangle. Maybe with the understanding of what it takes to stay alive and to live well in this world, we can create a better, more sophisticated community among the United States.