The Great Compromise of 2013: Creating a college course

It’s clear that the school’s administration has been making dramatic and persistent attempts at improving the system, as seen through our new technology, college checkpoints and test prep classes. It has made some electives 5.0 classes to help raise students’ GPA’s. We also see Wi-Fi in the nearby future being extended to BYOD (bring your own device).

Among the changes is the sudden drive and passion we’ve had towards our seniors and college in general. FAFSA help, college visits, and help from counselors, as usual, are offered to students.This year, however, they’ve implemented college checkpoints (which could use a little tweaking but overall are a sound idea). They allow students to visit college campuses without penalty for absence (it’s excused if you bring back proof) and have regular SAT prep classes for students. With that said, I must ask: where is the class for college prep?

While English teacher Sarah Urban does offer such class, overtime, it’s become somewhat of a test prep class because test prep is what all the students seem to want. The class itself allows students to do whatever they need for college: write essays, make resumes, call a school, practice interviewing — it just so happens that a majority of the students exclusively want test prep and thus the class has been dubbed an SAT Prep Class and no longer a College Prep Class. Therefore, why not just split it into two classes and have one for SAT and one for everything else?

If we’re going to have SAT prep class, it makes sense to implement a class that revolves around filling out college applications, completing FAFSA, CSS profiling and scholarships. There should be no reason why a student should lose out on a $16,000 scholarship just because he or she procrastinated up until the deadline. The only solution is an actual class that demands it, maybe with a grading incentive. And this is not an impossible request: the class would operate exactly like an independent study period except students will have to do something productive in terms of college and would not be for dual credit courses.

It only breaks my heart when a student who is more than deserving of a school fails to apply on time because of procrastination. And really, the class should be mandated for all students, if the administration wants to see truely groundbreaking results. This of course, however, does mean that an argument could be made that the class be a 5.0 class simply because everyone is a little obsessed with their GPA and would feel oppressed into having to take a 4.0 class.

The nice part is that the class doesn’t have to be limited to just seniors; underclassmen will know how to prepare their college resume, get educated on college terminology (such as what Early Action, Early Decision and Regular Decision mean) and write college essays. The class could get them into the zone; put them into the mindset they should be in, if they weren’t already. The earlier they start, the better.

The only roadblock would be scheduling; a college prep class may conflict with other graduate requirements, therefore the class should be prioritized. If a student is trying to meet graduation requirements, namely underclassmen and juniors, then they would be exempted from this class until it would be feasible. Seniors, on the other hand, have free time and filler classes (such as off-campus or staff aide) which could be sacrificed for this class. The only real exception here would be total exemption from the class if their schedule is non-negotiable, due to all AP, core or graduation required classes. But if this class is only a term long, it’s near impossible for a student to take classes that take up all 16 slots (4 classes a term, 4 terms total) with nothing but cores and AP and leave no room for a 9-week course.

This year, Kerr has shown so much enthusiasm in pushing kids towards college, clearly seen through the checkpoints and test prep. If the school is as serious about college the way it advocates it, it’s a wonder why such class doesn’t exist already. Nonetheless, Kerr should adopt a class with a premise like this to help students be more efficient on the path to college. Students in this day and age have a myriad of opportunities in front of them; the world is their oyster. Kerr should take strides towards capitalizing on that.