Does High School Prepare Us For College?


Are high schoolers ready for the autonomy of college? Image via The Independent.

Brigid Nugent, Contributing Writer

There’s been a lot of talk about whether or not high schools, and public schools in general, really prepare students for college and adult life. After learning and mastering the academics required, some students say they weren’t taught crucial skills such as doing taxes, making healthy meals, and purchasing housing.

School boards say such life skills should be the parents’ prerogative of how and wen to teach their children to take care of themselves. But with teens in school for more than a ¼ of the day, not including student extracurriculars and the parents working long hours, there isn’t much room for basic life lessons.

Carter Anderson, a high school freshman, says, “I think I’ll be prepared well for college by senior year. My brother might have helped me, by going first and kind of showing me what to expect. Plus he took an economics class that he said really gave him real life skills. ”

Hingham High does do a good job of showing the real life applications of the courses students can take. For example, in Interior Design, students complete a project where they weigh the pros and cons of renting versus buying a house or apartment.

Mr. Nugent, a history teacher, says this about his class is application to real life: “In my class, it’s hard because the history I teach is pretty dated, but it shows you how to recognize long standing patterns in societies. My sociology class is much more applicable to life, but the history is also important to know, and geography is critical to know.”

Generation Z, the generation of current Hingham High School students, is proving to be very different from Millennials, its tech savvy predecessor. This shows as Generation Z students enter college and the work force. The National Association for College Admissions said, “A Northeastern University (MA) study in 2014 reported that two-thirds (67 percent) of Generation Z students indicate their top concern is being able to afford college. The study also reported that learning practical skills in college is important to students: 63 percent believe it’s important for colleges to teach entrepreneurship and 85 percent believe they should learn about financial literacy in college.”

It appears as though the current generation is more focused on learning life skills and how to fend for itself while actually in college. This approach may be uncommon in comparison to the past, but it makes sense. Students are paying for their own college tuitions, asking parents for help, and trying to reduce the rates of crippling students loans more and more every year.

Students and teachers here at Hingham High seem to be content with the real life skills they learn in addition to their core classes, and the high college admission and graduation rates seem to show we’re doing something right so far.