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The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

High school preaches prep, college proves otherwise

Why high school misleads students when it comes to college preparation
Peyton McKenzie

I went to Avon High School in Avon, Connecticut, which has an “A+” for college prep on Niche. If my high school has the highest rating possible for college preparation, how come it did not prepare me for college?

I was told that things were going to be a certain way in college and in the workforce, and that wasn’t true.

For example, from middle school to high school, my English teachers told me specifically, “You have to use the five-paragraph structure.” After my first essay was due when I started here at Quinnipiac University, my professor told the class, “I hate the five-paragraph structure.” My first week in college, my professor basically told me that the foundations of writing that I learned for years is not how things are done in college.

My English teachers in high school also deducted points from my essays if I used the first-person in my writing. Here at Quinnipiac, it’s encouraged. Most of my peers and classmates have had similar experiences. While talking about a paper due in my political science class, one of my classmates asked, “So, we can use ‘I’ in our essays?” Not only did my professor confirm this, he was ecstatic in encouraging it.

It’s like someone completely changed what I knew as the rules in writing, and then told me there weren’t any.

In college, there are so many different things you have to manage other than just grades, sports and clubs. Most of us have completely blown through our savings because we have no clue how to utilize our money responsibly. This skill isn’t something that you have to learn for college specifically, but it’s a life skill that high school neglected to teach me.

Before each year, my high school would have students “choose” our schedules. This consisted of deciding whether we took college prep, honors or AP courses. In reality, we didn’t even decide this, it was what the teachers thought we were capable of.

The freedom of choosing what classes I actually want to take in college is refreshing. Even when — as a political science major — I have to take math and art, I still have the choice of what type of class I take. I can take classes that I know I’ll do better in.

Additionally, I only ever learned how to memorize vocabulary and facts for a short period of time, only until the next test. Now, I actually have to learn things long term because the subject pertains to what I’m going to be doing for the rest of my life. I never actually had to apply anything I learned in high school to real life.

Unless your major is math and you’re going to be doing math for the rest of your life, you don’t really need to find the value of “Y” in everyday life. Topics that I learn in college will follow me in the profession I pursue.

In high school, it was hard to know what I really wanted to do with my life. Thankfully, my school had a civics class that was mandatory for seniors to take. Other than that class, I had no idea what I wanted to go to college for. It created a lot of stress because I really didn’t want to major in something I wasn’t truly passionate about. I luckily took a class that showed me what I was passionate about; many students aren’t that lucky.

Students can make adjustments to feel more equipped for college. Many students I’ve spoken to feel that their high schools prepared them because they offered courses that students were interested in, and not just the basic classes that students often find boring.

High school teachers send mixed messages to students, which can be harmful because it creates a harsher expectation than what’s actually true. They shouldn’t be trying to scare them by saying “this won’t fly in college” because the likelihood is that it will definitely fly in college.

I’ve said to my friends that my intro to academic reading and writing class is useless because we’ve all learned to read and write. I was wrong. That class is actually useful because it’s teaching us the real-lifeway to do things, when high school apparently wasn’t.

It’s frankly annoying, being taught that something is done a specific way for at least four years. It sets students up for failure because they can’t do assignments right. What’s the point of teaching things a certain way if it’s all going to fly out the window?

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About the Contributors
Lillian Curtin
Lillian Curtin, Opinion Editor
Peyton McKenzie
Peyton McKenzie, Creative Director

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