College readiness is a big issue in the United States, especially in New York State where the State Education Department has demanded higher standardized test scores than previously. This decision has not only locked out inferior students from receiving a college education, it has focused the teacher’s tasks on teaching for the test and not providing the student with the underlying, sometimes subtle, meaning of the materials that are presented. They claim that students entering their freshman year are not prepared for the strict requirements of college classes. Almost 25% of students in New York State institutions had to take remedial courses in 2007 in order to prepare them for their regular college subjects.
The most common problem appears to be weak math and writing skills. This is a complaint whether the school is large or small, public or private. It is felt that the solution to the problem should be addressed while the student is still in K-12.
Equally as prevalent is the lack of good study skills. Some students have never been challenged in K-12 to manage their time and to learn proper research techniques. This becomes more of an issue now when students must hold down a job in order to pay for their high tuition costs. Study time becomes a minor matter.
A serious interference to study for modern young adults is the time they devote to texting, to social networking websites such as Facebook, MySpace, MyLife and many others. Their sleep patterns may be affected by this habit to the point where they are late for classes or even miss their classes.
It has also been discovered that high school students often get their required core courses completed by the end of their junior year, thus giving themselves an easy senior year in which to indulge their social leanings or to take a part-time job. They are therefore out of practice when they become college freshmen, having forgotten the industry needed to be a successful student.
An article in the Buffalo News on 8/30/2010 entitled “Floundering Freshmen” related that Hilbert College in Hamburg, New York has received a two million dollar grant for a program which targets incoming freshmen for extra study prior to the start of the Fall Semester. Three dozen students were on the Hilbert campus for two weeks of intensive preparation in math, reading and writing skills which are vital for their transition to college. Click here to read this article.
A college education is a huge financial investment for the student as well as his/her parents. If the student starts off well prepared in the skills that are necessary for success, his/her life on campus will be a fruitful and memorable experience.
The Buffalo News, 8/30/2010