College Students say High School Fails at Preparation

Students say that high schools need to do a better job of setting them up for success in college and the workforce.

According to a new study by the College Board, the majority of students who just completed their freshman year of college feel that higher education is essential and worth the time and expense. But they do wish high school had prepared them better, writes Liz Dwyer at

Nearly one-quarter of students were required to take non-credit remedial courses during their freshman year, while 54 percent reported that their college classes were “more difficult than they expected in terms of what students needed to know and what was required to get good grades.”

The curriculum taught in high school isn’t up to par, writes Dwyer.

High school students only have to take a limited number of core subjects to graduate, usually four years of English, and a mere two years each of math and science.

Yet according to the survey results, 44 percent of students wish they’d taken “more math, science, and writing-intensive” classes so that they’d be better prepared for college-level work.

Why don’t states require students to take four years of English and math, and three or four years of science? Asks Dwyer.

Why isn’t there a class dedicated to teaching the fundamentals of writing? For that matter, why don’t we require more than two years of history or social studies and foreign language?

“The students want it—69 percent of respondents say high school graduation requirements are “very” or “pretty” easy, while 37 percent think it should be more difficult to earn a diploma.”

Click here for the full report.


  1. College Students say High School Fails at Preparation | International Education News | Renascence School International | Panama City | private preschool, elementary school, middle school

    [...] expense. But they do wish high school had prepared them better, writes Liz Dwyer at”(more)    Comments (0) Go to main news [...]

  2. Mark Peters

    Minimum requirements are just that “a minimum.” If students are forbidden to take more than the minimum, there is a problem in the school. Otherwise, students have the freedom to choose to push themselves beyond the minimum. Selective universities look for students who push themselves as far as they are able.

  3. Doug

    The teachers are teaching what is required by the state. If the student is not prepared, look inwards.

  4. College Students say High School Fails at Preparation | CU News

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  5. How Well Do Kids Think High School Prepared Them for College? | Socrato Learning Analytics Blog

    [...] How well did their high school academic experience prepare students for college? Not very well, according to a new study by the College Board that’s highlighted in this week’s Education News. [...]

  6. Green Goat

    The opportunity is there. the resources are there. Teachers are talking and trying but students don’t listen. High schools teach what the state tells them to. Schools have to pass students because the government is just looking at graduation rates and test scores. Quantity not quality.

  7. Jack Donachy

    There are several problems at the high school level. 1. Most high schools do a very poor job explaining to students and their parents what coursework is best (or even necessary) for admissions to and success at college, and 2) Most high schools still offer–and even mandate–junk classes that do nothing to prepare students for school, and 3) Most high schools do a very poor job communicating to parents and students whether or not students are actually prepared for college success and, finally, 4) The one-size-fits-all diplomas offered by many high schools don’t mean much.

    And it is a RARE high school that follows up on its high school graduates to determine whether or not they are sending students to college with the right preparation. There are more problems than these at most high schools, but these are starting points.

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September 2nd, 2011

Staff Reporter

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