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Taking Action to Improve College Readiness

Zachary Cronin'19
31 January 2019

High School is considered to be a time when students figure out what they want to do in life and what the next steps should be in their education. Getting into college is a long and thorough process that requires a drive from the student to properly pass required tests and make sure all the materials are submitted on time. Despite how demanding this process can be it is not emphasized enough in the curriculum on how important it is to start the college process early. There are too many steps that are being rushed into only a couple of years.


Most students spend their junior year starting the college search and visiting schools. During this time they are also taking tests such as the SAT, ACT, and dare I say it the PARCC test. During this period I feel like too much is being condensed into only a few months. Considering that colleges do not accept PARCC scores it does not make sense why either the SAT or ACT aren’t the standardized test to graduate. High School Students in New Jersey have to take the PARCC test 3 times and distaste for it has been growing since its implementation. I asked a Junior their opinions on if they would want to take the SAT over the PARCC, “I don’t understand why we are forced to take a test that doesn’t matter outside needing it for graduation. I would rather take the SATs on schooltime and, it would help a lot of people who need help getting their college application started.”


This change would also have more students beginning the college process earlier and in return it would be more efficient. Imagine the burden of writing a college essay, visiting schools, taking standardized tests, and applying spread across all four years of high school. With that much preparation time the transition from high school to college would become much less troublesome for everyone. Unfortunately not everyone has the intuition to start applying this early, in fact it usually is not until sophomore or junior year until the high school starts promoting students to get engaged in college.


“I think that more high schoolers need to get involved and actually understand all that goes into applying to a school,” said a PV teacher, “With more time to work on their test scores I feel people would hit the their goals and get into more schools.”


The main issue with having schools enforcing the SAT as a graduation requirement is the current laws in New Jersey which require passing the PARCC as the school’s standardized test. “Making another mandatory test could affect our total graduation rate,” added an administrator, “Students may feel pressured by this change who in turn might not even need the SAT for what they plan to pursuit.”


While having it be legally required may not be the proper approach it is very important that students take the right measures to study and take standardized tests seriously.