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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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Shelby Wagner - 1st Grade Teacher Fairmont Historic AnaheimTop Teacher & Skating Champion
Shelby “My favorite part of being a teacher is the children I get to teach.”
  • Is one of the head teachers for the Fountain Valley Artistic Skating Club, teaching regional and national champions. She also teaches beginner classes every Saturday morning.
  • Every year, her students are amazed to find that their teacher has a life outside of the classroom.
“I love feeling like I’m part of a family [at Fairmont].”
Keira Kamath - 5th Grade Fairmont Anaheim HillsScience & Tennis Superstar
keira “I like how there are so many different specialty classes at Fairmont Anaheim Hills, like art, music, PE, science lab, computer lab, and Spanish.”
  • She would like to be a professional tennis player when she grows up, or maybe a doctor.
  • Loves dance and plays the piano
  • Her favorite class is science “because you get to figure out stuff, and I like to do experiments.”
Nicholas Aghaian - 7th Grade Fairmont Historic AnaheimKicking His Way to Med School
nicolas“The teachers and the amount of support they provide to not only me, but to the whole entire community here at Fairmont is probably what I like most about attending Fairmont Historic Anaheim.”
  • He would like to be a professional soccer player, or a doctor specializing in the field of sports medicine.
  • Enjoys basketball, piano, and soccer pitch.
  • His favorite subject is math “because I like to be challenged, and math is full of challenges.”
Gianluca De Gregoris – 2nd Grade Fairmont North TustinDancing Toward Greatness
dancing"What I like most about Fairmont is that I get to learn and meet new friends.”
  • He wants to be a professional dancer when he grows up.
  • Is trained in ballet and ballroom dancing.
  • Loves writing and creating new stories.
Nicole Heyman - Kindergarten Teacher Fairmont Anaheim HillsLaying a Foundation for Lifelong Learning
Nicole "The best part about teaching at Fairmont is being able to work with a diverse group of students who are all incredibly talented. It is amazing to be able to challenge students at such a young age and watch these children grow throughout the year.”
  • Loves camping, reading, and traveling
  • Her students love learning random things about her – like the fact that when she was in kindergarten she wanted to be Spiderman when she grew up.
  • Her proudest moments are the times when a student on campus is excited to see her, oftentimes telling her that she’s “the best teacher in the world.” “I live for those moments.”
“I choose to teach at Fairmont because of the sense of community, as well as the drive for our students to succeed.”
DJ Clovis - Music Teacher Fairmont North TustinRunning to the Rhythm
DJ Clovis “I get to work with amazing staff, faculty, parents, and most importantly, students!”
  • Teaches music to all grades — from pre-kindergarten through 8th grade
  • Coaches (or has coached) football, basketball, and Run Club
  • Plays bass trombone
  • NJHS Conflict Resolution Coach
  • He has run 15 marathons and 4 ultra marathons.
“The best part of teaching at Fairmont is the autonomy — being able to create a program that fits all of my students. At Fairmont North Tustin, I get to help with a lot of different activities.”