Assessing seniors’ college preparedness

Anna Mason, Editor-in-Chief

Senior Amanda Molino disagrees with the findings that just 42 percent of all seniors here feel prepared for college-style classes.

“I feel pretty prepared,” Molino said. “I don’t anticipate college classes to be that much different from the classes we’re taking now. Especially for people who take a lot of Advanced Placement classes.”

Guidance counselor John Komosa emphasizes the importance of distinguishing between being simply concerned about college rigor as opposed to being actually unprepared.

“I would say a healthy dose of concern is appropriate for anybody going to college,” Komosa said.

But, according to US News and World Report, data recently released from the National Assessment of Educational Progress reveals that only 37 percent of high school seniors nation-wide are prepared for college-level math and reading. Additionally, according to a PBS News report, the majority of public two and four year colleges report enrolling students who are not ready for college-level courses.

Teachers and students alike feel as though Dulaney does not apply to these national trends, particularly citing the rigor of AP classes. Just 16 percent of seniors here were deemed not college-ready for English and over 50 percent of any given graduating class since 2012 has earned a 3 on at least one AP exam.

“Many of the AP courses are taught at a much more rigorous pace and cover the curriculum more in-depth than college courses generally do,” mathematics department chair Victoria Bracken said. “I have had many students reach out to me during and after college indicating how the AP courses that they took at Dulaney helped to prepare them for their rigorous college course load.”

Senior Anna Yan agrees.

“I kind of feel prepared for college academically,” Yan said. “Just because I’ve been taking a lot of AP classes and people tell me that’s what college classes will be like. I mean, I don’t know how true that is.”

Still, Bracken cautions against habits students have fallen into during their high school years, particularly due to the mastery grading system.

“Our grading policy has made some students lackadaisical in their work habits,” Bracken said. “Many bright students comment that they will just ‘take the LS’ rather than complete an assignment.  They play the game with major and minor points and hope for an opportunity to retake something rather than study the first time.”

Aside from academic factors, when asked on a scale from 1-5, how prepared they felt for college in general, 58 percent of seniors reported either a 4 or a 5. Just 4 percent reported either a 1 or a 2.

Students commented on uncertain social and economic factors in the years to come.

“For other things, I’m not really prepared, like financially I have no idea what I’m doing with my money. I don’t know how to cook,” Yan said, who will be attending the University of Toronto.

Komosa described concerns over the level of independence required in college, while mentioning that self-discipline, internal motivation and self-advocacy are the components that will either make a college experience successful or not.

“The freedom that college brings can be a lot to handle. It is easy to let the good times get out of hand and I have watched students with enormous ability and potential flame out as a result of too much partying,” Komosa said. “Work hard first, play hard second.”


The data mentioned in this article was collected from 100 random seniors through a senior survey April 13.