Opinion: High School is NOT Just College Prep

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Opinion: High School is NOT Just College Prep

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Look around Bishop Amat and you can see that we expect all students to go to college.

We have College Board advertisements and other higher-ed paraphernalia all over the bulletin boards. The number of students enrolling in AP, IB, and honors classes increases with each passing year. In fact, the Class of 2019 has almost twice as many Distinguished Scholars than the Class of 2018 (about 55 compared to about 30 last year).

More and more Amat students place a high value on college – just look at the number of people in higher-level classes. If you ask around why they’re doing so, they all say the same thing: “to make sure I get into a good college.”

College, college, college.

As a result of this high valuation, we cultivate a defeatist attitude in students whose interests or talents do not follow an academic path.

I have a friend who aspires to write music, and he wants to head straight to the music industry after high school. Because our educational system incentives college and higher-level classes, he feels like he’s dumb for not wanting to go to college, so he isn’t motivated in his classes.

There are some students at Amat who want to head straight into the military; there are at least five people in my class who are planning to do so, and we recognize them for their choice to serve our country.

But for those who aren’t going to college or joining the military, there isn’t even a blurb in the graduation pamphlet.

We have an amazing college counselor, but there is very little support for those who want to enter the workforce right away, when analysis reveals that isn’t such a bad idea.

For example, a person with just a high school diploma could become a website developer, who, on average, make more than high school teachers.

For students who want to go into a certain type of job after high school, postsecondary education could mean on-the-job training or a few years at a vocational school, rather than four more years in academia.

It is demoralizing to students who have interests and aspirations outside of college to attend compulsory college acceptance activities (financial aid presentations, college fairs, etc.) that glorify college like it is , and it’s disheartening for us to see them put their self-worth in academics when they know that’s not where it should be.

This system is detrimental to students who aren’t meant for college, but it’s not too late to fix it.

In an effort to rectify this, Bishop Amat should bring in more ambassadors from vocational schools, offer classes that present opportunities outside of college, and, most importantly, introduce a career counselor to work alongside Mr. Scott.

Let’s look around Bishop Amat in a few years and see students who can forge their own paths in life, not just blindly follow the path to college.

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