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Why Aren’t Students In High School Ready For College?

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A troubling phenomenon is occurring throughout the nation’s high schools. Students in the United States are not leaving high school prepared for college. Students are not passing in the Math and English placement exams that are required for entry level college placement. Why is this? The educators are thinking that the students themselves are to blame. The students, they believe, are coming into college lacking the essential non-cognitive skills such as grit and self-control. Paul Tough discusses this topic in his book How Children Succeed. In his book, Tough talks about the non-cognitive skills such as curiosity, grit, conscientiousness, self-control, and other important character strengths. These qualities are essential for college success because the non-cognitive skills will help the students “build study skills, work habits, time management, help seeking behavior, and social/ academic problem solving skills” (161). Therefore, in high schools students need to challenge themselves and parents need to stop overly sheltering their kids. Parent need to teach their kids at a young age, to work hard to get what they want in this case high school students need to get more knowledge to be ready for college. Parents need to stop overly sheltering their kids and their kids can be more independent and the students need to build the non-cognitive skill that will be necessary for college.

First, in identifying that parents need to pay closer attention to non- cognitive skills for their kids to be more successful in high school and from there, they can be successful in college. Students in high school who do well in classes normally have very similar attitudes such as being active in class, asking question, doing their homework, and doing extra credit to get that A . But the students who don’t do so well in high school lack the essential abilities that they need in college. Students who fail to learn are not ready to say that they need help on something that they do not understand. Rich parents like to just give their kids everything their kids want, but what does this mean for their in school? It means that their kids will think that everything will be handed to them and not do the efforts that they need to put in to their schoolwork. So they’re not learning the non-cognitive skills. Grit means that people will have courage, curiosity means to have a strong desire to know or learn something and conscientiousness means the desire to do a task well. If students have these non-cognitive skills, high school graduates will be successful in college and not drop out but to have these set of skills, people need to be independent and to be willing to challenge yourselves and usually these skills is a problem because of the parents. It’s their fault that they are not giving the independence their kids need. A non-cognitive skill is learned by opening up to be willing to learn and to be willing to work hard and to put effort in to school work, so that students won’t fail in college.

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Second, in the book How Children Succeed Paul Tough discusses how “to some people, the path is so easy that they can get out into life and they’ve never really been challenged” (161). Kids at the age of one up to three years old are developing their own way of seeing the world and developing knowledge. What kids at that age need, is support and attention from their parents, but as they get older, they need to have a chance to be independent and to challenge themselves. When I was growing up, my parents sheltered me and did things for me, so I didn’t have to do anything, when I came to high school, I decided to do the easy classes a lot because I was scared to break out of my shell and challenge myself. Because of this, I am struggling in college; I get a lot of help for my schoolwork. Now I do regret not taking harder classes in high school and not challenging myself. Kids in high school need to realize that they need to step out of there bubble and challenge themselves so they can do well in college.

Next, In How Children Succeed, Paul Tough discuses that “parents who are able to have a nurturing relationship with their children, protect them from many of the worst effects of harsh early environment, this is dealing with the motivation and cognition” (28). Motivation is the desire or willingness to do something. Parents should be more like teachers because kids learn things first from their parents, so parents need to infuse the motivation to work harder. If a teacher tells students that they are doing well and encourage students with positive words to help to put effort in to their school work, parents should say encouraging words to motivate their children, things that they may not normally hear. It’s all about the progress and to take a challenge; everybody struggles at first but motivation will help them to put forth effort in to their work. Also it’s important to encourage a student to do positive things, like doing their homework and not goofing around with their friends. Students in high school need to understand the big picture of why we are telling them why it’s so important to work hard and to further their education, so they can get a good job in the work force.

In conclusion, student in high school aren’t ready for college because they are not pushing themselves to go the extra distance to achieve their goals and are lacking certain skills they need a set of skills to help them though college. Students need to have study skills so they can get a better score on their tests and work habits so they can have a set of skills to stay on task for during their homework .They also need to have the ability to seek help if they need help on a problem. Students need to realize to be able to have these set of skills they need to challenge themselves and to be independent that means that parents need to not overly protect and shelter them. Students need to not be afraid to ask questions for an assignment that they might not be getting. Therefore, the cause of the students dropping out of college is the students but the causes this problem is the parents who are undermining their own and their children’s own education by not allowing them to build the skills that are necessary for their success in college and in life.


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