Are High School Students Ready for College and the Workforce?

Many high school students are eager to leave the hallways they’ve known for the last four years and take on the challenges of college and the real world. While they may believe they are fully prepared to take their next steps, there are a number of naysayers who feel otherwise.

A recent Gallop poll revealed that adults do not have strong levels of confidence in how ready high school graduates are for higher education and the workforce. These adults are individuals with higher levels of education (possessing four-year degrees or higher). According to the poll, they feel that recent grads would fare better if they first took part in internships, job shadowing, and other entrepreneurship opportunities.

Among other beneficial measures that many individuals think would help those about to enter both college and the workforce are job employment and skills training support, social and life skills support, mentoring, and career counseling.

It’s not merely in the realm of academic comprehension that students aren’t ready — it’s also emotionally and socially. As Stephen Head, a college chancellor in Houston, said at a Communities in Schools event in Washington, D.C. last month, students leaving the high school arena “need the background of social help behind the scenes,” adding that they “don’t even know what they don’t know.”

Adults are not the only ones who are concerned about what students are learning and not learning in the classrooms. Aliezah Hulett, who was a student at Windsor High School in California, said in her “Preparing Students for the Real World” TED-Ed Clubs talk that schools need to teach more real-life skills to their students. Hulett encouraged students and educators to push for more education regarding the metric system, taxes, basics of a resume, car maintenance, how to cook more than grilled cheese sandwiches, CPR training, and sex education so that students are able to understand concepts in more relevant contexts.

“We need to realize that it’s important to learn more about what’s going to be out there in the real world,” she said. “If educators focused more on what’s going to be out there in our real lives, then maybe that won’t be as scary for students, and it won’t be as scary for parents to let their students leave the house and become adults.”

The good news is that there are a variety of ways that these students can be supported while they are still in high school so that they are then more apt to be successful at the next level. Though there are certainly still areas of improvement, there are programs being implemented in school districts across the nation that offer support in financial planning and social and life skills.

The more these programs and courses in real-world matters are applied, the less shock and struggle students will experience when they step onto their college campuses or into the doors of their first jobs.

At Fairmont Preparatory Academy, we help students develop more self-confidence and produce extraordinary outcomes for themselves. We offer each student who walks through our doors the opportunity to create his or her own unique journey and to thrive — both in the classroom and in the world beyond.

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