Saturday, December 29th, 2007 at 5:07 pm in Jesse Dutton-Kenny.
Sorry for the delay everyone. Getting ready for the winter break was a very busy time, what with the holidays coming up so quickly this year, so I do apologize for taking a little while to post something new. Anyways, what I would like to start a discussion about this time is the big, looming topic that hangs over the heads of so many high school students, college.
I have found that at this point in my schooling, most of the discussions that I have with adults are about college, where I’d like to go, what students my age think about it, the increasing cost, etc. As a junior, the idea of college that once seemed so distant is becoming very real, so I usually have something to contribute to these discussions as college is something that I find myself thinking about more and more.
I would like to touch on three major things that were on my mind when I began writing this. First, the dilemma between staying in-state or going to an out of state school. Second, the role that parents play in where their child will end up, both financially and mentally. And third, the incredible amount of students who, for a variety of reasons, simply don’t consider or have the option of college.
Here is an interesting story. One day a representative from a college counseling service came to my classroom and spoke to the students about college options. One of the questions we were asked was whether or not we would considering going to school out of state. About three out of thirty-four students, including myself, raised their hands. I would confidently say that that number would hold true in most classrooms in my school. The UC, CSU, and Community College systems are simply cheaper, and easier to get into (in some cases) to the point where most students see nothing beyond it.
By saying this I don’t intend to resurrect the same discussion from my last blog. I’m simply stating what I have observed. I myself will apply to a few UC schools and I see nothing wrong with taking this route, I am just curious what you all think about this. Why do most college-bound students in Oakland Public schools prefer to stay in-state? Is it purely financial?
Now for the parents, I would love to hear feedback on this topic. If your child chose a college you didn’t feel was worth their time, how would you react? I feel like a lot of students will choose to go to a school that they know their parents will approve of even though that may not necessarily be the school that suits them best. But the fact of the matter is that, unless you are incredibly self sufficient, your parents will most likely be paying for the bulk of your college education.
So, another question for the parents, do you think it is fair to control where you child applies or where they end up going? I realize it may seem like I have some hidden hostility towards my parents about this, but in fact they are incredibly supportive of my desire to choose where I feel is right. Though obviously, a cheaper school or lots of scholarships would be nice.
Finally, I think when talking about Oakland Public Schools and college you will often run into statistics of alarming drop-out rates, and increasingly lower numbers of students going to college. I can’t give an exact percentage for Skyline’s drop-out rate, but I do know that it is decently high, around 30-40%. Often our Senior class is about half the size the Freshman class was by the end of the four years. A lot of kids have family issues that prevent college from being an option, or their grades and test scores weren’t what they needed to be, or something else entirely happened that threw them off the expected track.
Whatever the reason, all this college talk that is forced upon students from the beginning of ninth grade is only relevant to a small percentage of the graduating class. Here is more room for feedback. What causes this? Is it the environment where students live? Is it the school? What can be done to lower the drop out rates? I look forward to your responses!