Is High School Preparing Us For Life?


Whether high school prepares one for life depends on what high school he or she attends and what academic or vocational program is taken. High school can prepare some students for life, in particular, for postsecondary academic learning environments and careers. Concerning other aspects of life, such as paying taxes, balancing a checkbook, buying a car or house, or taking care of a family, etc., according to the 2014 Bentley University Preparedness Study, most high school students are not prepared for these tasks.

Many students, who have ventured beyond their high school’s institutional support during their junior and senior years are better prepared to make the transition from high school to full-time employment, because they have done volunteer work or held part-time jobs in which they had adult-level responsibilities. Those students who participate in after school activities, such as internships gain critical experience, such as opportunities to have leadership roles. Some of them have traveled extensively, which enabled them to acquire knowledge of other cultures and languages, making them a more well-rounded individual, and able to adapt to new situations and environments.

To prepare students, since the 1900s, American school systems have provided vocational and academic tracks. The vocational track is designed to prepare non-college bound students for the job market, and the academic track prepares students for college studies. The school-to-work vocational studies approach incorporates the application approach, which provides jobs skills’ training, and makes learning more relevant to real life. Advanced Placement (AP) collegiate preparatory programs have a theoretical approach, and rely on colleges to provide students with the application experience needed for their chosen professions and careers. In 2012, ACT, Inc. reported that nearly 60 percent of high school students were not prepared for the rigors of college programs. However, if students attend high schools that provide them with challenging academic and career experiences, they have an advantage over others who do not have these opportunities, and are more apt to gain admission to college, and obtain scholarships.

To meet the demands of college and the workplace, students have to attend high schools that prepare them with the necessary academic knowledge and marketable skills. Those high school students who do not gain above average academic knowledge are not prepared for college, and those who do not have marketable knowledge and skills required in today’s competitive economy the era of technological advancement has created are at a disadvantage.