This school year marks the first cycle of Gabrielino’s history in which all students have been required to take two quarters of the College Prep/Transition class, bringing into question how effective the class has been at bettering the futures of those who have taken it. The class should be an optional elective solely focusing on college because students deserve the freedom to choose classes that will solely benefit them in their endeavors.
Both the University of California system and the California State University system require at least 15 year-long courses in the A-G subject areas, one year of visual or performing art included. By making the College Prep/Transition class mandatory for high school graduation, students miss out on the opportunity to fulfill an A-G course required to apply for college.
Whether it’s constructing a MLA 8 bibliography, creating a résumé, taking Cornell Notes, using Google Drive, learning how to prepare for tests, or understanding social media, students are taught information that they were already taught in the past or are being taught concurrently in other classes. Students attest they have been taught to “bookmark a page on chrome” and “stuff that you can learn on your own.”
“There were certain parts of it that were useful […] probably the job interviews and college sections,” stated a sophomore who wished remain anonymous.
If one were to take a thorough look at the curriculum of the College Prep/Transition class, they would find that only one of its units focuses directly on college. In other units, students are taught information specific to Gabrielino High School and baseline professional career skills. While the Naviance website, the College Board website, Cal Grant information, and UC personal insight questions are important, there is so much more valuable, necessary knowledge students need.
“I didn’t feel like it [prepared] me for college like the title of the course said,” stated a senior who wished to remain anonymous. “I would’ve liked more information about how to get into the college you want.”
In order to make the College Prep/Transition class stay true to its name, the class needs to become an elective open to all grade levels and only focused on preparing students for college. Information regarding The Common Application for private and/or out-of-state schools, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®), Open California Community Colleges (OpenCCC), CSS Profile, and more should be covered.
With less than four years left until many Gabrielino students journey into higher education, students should be prepared to tackle their college applications and financial aid applications.
If an optional, college-focused class was implemented, students would have one full class period to complete their college applications, talk to college representatives, attend college application and financial aid workshops, and talk to their counselors. Students who do not plan on attending college can choose not to enroll.
The College and Career Center at Gabrielino frequently hosts a variety of college representatives and college workshops during class periods. Teachers would be able to teach without feeling obligated to give students permission to attend these workshops and worrying that students will miss an important lesson.
If the College Prep/Transition class changed into an optional elective which only focused on postsecondary education and was open to all grades, college-bound students would be more productive, prepared, and pleased as a result of enrolling a class which exclusively appeals and caters to them.