Signs of August are popping up everywhere: school supplies, letters about PTA meetings, and college tours. The buzzword on everyone’s minds is “college readiness.” But what exactly does this mean?
The answer is at once simple and complex. The Educational Policy Improvement Center defines college readiness as a student’s ability to enter a college classroom and successfully complete entry-level requirements, without any remediation. This definition is rather straightforward, but it can be tough to unpack.
To help parents, guardians, and facilitators start thinking about college readiness, the Center for College Readiness of Rice University in Houston, TX has outlined several specific “core areas” of college readiness:
Strong intellectual growth throughout the student’s educational career. This includes taking increasingly challenging courses--especially throughout high school, when students have more flexibility in choosing which types of courses to take.
The ability to think critically and problem-solve in a “flexible” manner. After all, problems that need to be solved don’t always crop up in the most convenient of situations. doesn’t Settings, circumstances, and realities change. Students must be flexible, able to think critically in all contexts.
The advancement of reading, writing, and numeric skills. These skills provide the strong foundation for success in every single college class a student will encounter. Often schools do not prepare high school students well enough for the reading and writing skills they actually need in college courses.
The capacity to communicate effectively with everyone. Really, everyone. Students often spend their formative years in one town, interacting largely with one demographic, in a “bubble” of sorts. When they get to college, that “bubble” will pop. Students will meet and work with people from a variety of cultural and professional backgrounds.
All of these skills are geared toward helping high school students transition seamlessly into college. A 2004 study by the College Board found that only 28% of high school teachers felt that public high schools adequately prepared students for college; college professors felt that only 42% of their incoming students were unprepared.
Each one of these skills is developed in different ways throughout a student’s holistic education. Some of them can benefit immensely from a little extracurricular effort. Scholastic programs like speech and debate, volunteer experience, and supplemental education like Phlox can help students go the extra mile to be totally prepared for college. What else have your learners (past and present) done to make sure they’re ready for college? Share your success stories and pose any questions you may have in the comments!
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