Preparation For College

Elisabeth Johnson, Journalist

Every senior goes through the ritual of feeling nervous, jittery and suspenseful while waiting for the response back from the college of their dreams. Congratulations, you’ve been accepted to our school, the most exciting sentence a senior in high school will ever read. Although this is one of the perks, there are many preceding months of complete confusion. 

In order for a student to get accepted into college, the student has to be academically ready. I talked with Grace, a friend and a fellow senior at Ipswich High School. I asked her what the school is doing to prepare her for the years beyond high school. She responded, “Teachers try to prepare us by incorporating some college-level work such as taking notes on PowerPoints and having class discussions.” Clearly teachers are doing something, but is that truly all it takes? One of the programs that the guidance office incorporates into high schoolers is a website called Naviance. This website is set up to prepare yourself for college life, including choosing the right school, applying for scholarships and grants, and much more. I asked Grace if she thought this website helped her. She said, “Naviance did not help me at all. The only time it was important was when the seniors had to create resumes and do other college things.” If this really is the case for most students, should we continue with this program if it’s not helping students feel better about applying for colleges? 

What happens to these high school students after they graduate? The most important question is, do they feel high school did a good job preparing them for college? I talked to Johannah, a 2018 graduate from Ipswich High and how she feels the school did to get her ready. Her response was shocking: “High school did not prepare me for actual real-life situations, such as financial planning. Living on your own at 18 is hard enough but when you have no idea how to manage money it becomes too stressful.” These are all really important points, and it’s true that schools don’t teach you about getting a job, paying taxes, or buying a home. These are all things that you have to learn by yourself. I asked Johannah what piece of advice she would tell her past self. She responded, “I wish I had known how I am the only one responsible for my education and future. The work and effort I put in directly affects my success in school.” That is definitely interesting to hear from a graduate, but maybe not what you wanted to hear. Nevertheless, the truth comes out. Maybe high schools aren’t doing enough to prepare their students for the future. Johannah and I ended our interview with one good piece of advice for seniors going through this struggle. She said, “For me, college was a time for focusing on myself, not worrying about how anyone else was doing academically. If you challenge yourself and do your absolute best, people will recognize that and respect you for that.”