Saturday, October 14, 2006

I still don't do Senioritis, and neither do many colleges

How nice of the colleges to finally figure it out.

Maybe you remember my post from two years ago where I stated that I didn't accept the issue of Seniors mailing it in with a few months to go in school, a condition that is known as "senioritis". Well, it looks like some other institutions of higher learning are finally figuring it out. From the San Francisco Chronicle:

Colleges and universities from coast to coast are cutting students whose senior grades drop dramatically or who do not complete the rigorous course of study they promised in their application. California universities have rescinded hundreds of offers for this fall.

No kidding? Usually it is the very high end universities that are knocking at the door of Seniors in May, now the UC and CSU system are starting to get into the act. It really makes sense actually, since the application process is becoming more and more competitive. The only problem now is the reliance of junior colleges by students, not because of financial burden, but because of laziness.

Although the University of California, California State University and Stanford University have been revoking admissions for decades, they are becoming even more aggressive about demanding that students be ready for college work when they arrive.

"We want the students to be prepared. The biggest reason students fail in college is their preparation in secondary school," said Jim Blackburn, a CSU enrollment director whose 23 campuses have been trying to reduce the number of freshmen needing remedial courses.

My wife took attended a workshop at Sonoma State in June that revealed some startling statistics. Nearly 60% of all incoming freshmen need some sort of remedial Math and English upon entering the UC/CSU system. 60%!!!! That's a whole lot of wasted money and time for something they can learn free-of-charge in high school. However, I'm not the slightest bit surprised at the English numbers. I'd say that only about 30% of my current college prep population is ready for a CSU English course. Not too good.

Officials say the scrutiny comes as a shock to most students, even though almost all colleges and universities warn students in their admission letters that the offer depends on successful completion of the senior year without a slip in academic performance.

I read a study in the Wall Street Journal a year ago about parents being concerned that their kids have it harder in terms of the ability to find a job in the market than they did when they were young. The realization is starting to take hold that a lot of people have a Bachelor's Degree, and that a simple college education will no longer guarantee a job. Yet that attitude is not reflected by students in the classroom. Students are full of optimism (something that this society is famous for), but lacks the focus of reality. During the Willits Algebra Academy, I listened to the U.C. coordinator explaining to a group of 8th graders that it was vital to begin to get good grades early in their career because the universities are starting to get really selective. Parents seemed very interested, but kids were just screwing around, acting like the squirrels that they are. Is 8th grade too early for a little discipline and perspective? I don't think so.

And Seniors will learn the discipline and perspective lesson sooner or later.
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