Cruising Through Senior Year

Senioritis. Everyone in high school is familiar with it. It’s a jokey term used to laugh off the laziness that often comes with the last year of school. While conventional wisdom might suggest that it’s okay to take a break after a childhood spent in school, it’s becoming increasingly apparent that the nation’s seniors aren’t prepared for college.

In recent years, high school graduates have had difficulty passing basic math and English entry exams at community colleges throughout the country. Studies show that 41 percent of students take at least one remedial course in college in Ohio alone.

Because many students complete their graduation requirements by the start of (or halfway through) their senior year, they spend the rest of the time coasting with little challenging work to keep their skills sharp. Instead of demanding students fulfill a quota of “seat time,” districts across the country are rethinking senior year. Options like vocation training and college courses for all seniors are gaining support (as opposed to college-credit-earning Advanced Placement classes, which tend to help only a fraction of students).

These plans, if they catch on, could kill two birds with one stone: students would keep skill sets sharp and earn college credit or on-the-job-training, while schools would save money on per-student expenditures.  But there are two sides to everything, of course, and there are some educators who feel that leaving high school early is a bad choice, as many students are not yet mature enough to be on their own.

Do you feel like seniors in your school are challenged enough? Does your school offer access to job programs and college courses? Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.