MYTH: COMMUNITY COLLEGES HAVE LOW ACADEMIC STANDARDS.
“It’s like if you can’t meet the standards to go to a better college, you go to a community college,” says 16-year-old Julia. In fact, experts say, community colleges do have standards – some even require placement exams. It is true that students may find entrance requirements for a two-year school less stringent, but graduating may be just as tough as it is at traditional four-year schools. “[Students] have to work and get up to a certain standard and they have to meet the standard before they leave the community college and go on to the four-year school,” says Betty Malloy, an academic dean at a two-year college.
MYTH: IT’S BETTER TO TAKE EASY HIGH SCHOOL CLASSES AND GET GOOD
“Yeah,” says 15-year-old Anthony, “because classes that are harder are harder to pass.” But challenging courses prepare students for college work and are crucial for admissions. “The admissions counselors weren’t born yesterday,” says college professor Rob Jenkins. ”They look at the classes, they look at the designation – whether they’re college prep or honors or AP or whatever and they can get a pretty good picture if they’re looking at a transcript [as to] what a student is capable of doing.”
“The evidence is clear,” says Diane Burns, a university vice-president. “The more challenging the course, the better prepared a student will be.”
MYTH: GRADES IN YOUR SENIOR YEAR DON’T MATTER.
“Yeah, I’m kinda dealing with that right now,” says 17-year-old Lauren. “Senioritis.”
Fifteen-year-old Stephanie says, “It’s your senior year. You’re supposed to slack – it’s, like, a rule.” But, counters Rob Jenkins, “A slack senior probably leads directly to a slack freshman year [in college].” In fact, experts say, colleges are looking at senior grades more closely than ever. “You shouldn’t be taking fluff in your senior year,” says Diane Burns. “Even if you’ve got all of your requirements done at the end of your junior year, you want to take challenging courses in your senior year because you’re preparing yourself to be competitive.”
Discussion and Self-Reflection Questions
- Did any of the college myths described surprise you? Please describe.
- What are community college options in your community?
- What does your high school course work say about you? Have you taken challenging classes?
- How have you witnessed “senioritis?” Who and what encourages and motivates you to stay on track throughout your high school career?
College Myths: Part I
About the Program
From what colleges require for admission to importance of high school grades, teens make during high school, there are plenty of misconceptions about what it takes to get into college. Watch this video to hear from students – and experts – about what teens and their parents should know about common misconceptions.