He continued: “I think the best way to prepare students for college is to make high school more like college. In other words, to give students increasing amounts of independence.”
Vargas and Muller agreed.
“[Students] often don’t have a lot of exposure to the types of study habits, study skills, and ways of thinking that they’re going to need to be successful as college students,” Vargas said.
“When [students] go to college, no one’s going to check on their homework [and] make sure it has been done. … You’re expected to do the work, no one’s going to check on your work, so there’s those kind of cultural issues that are very different,” said Muller.
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All agree that exposing students to a more challenging course load earlier on would help in the preparation process.
“The more rigor kids are exposed to, the better they are going to handle the rigors of college,” said Muller.
She believes that students who take Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) programs are better prepared.
“Those are college classes taught in high school, so the students will learn about what kind of work is expected in college. … Any time a student can actually participate in something that’s taught at a college level, they get to understand the expectation of college work,” Muller said.
Dede disagreed, pointing out that although IB programs teach project-based learning and have a broad way to measure success, students in AP courses are generally just taught how to do well on the corresponding AP tests.
“AP students are going to do better than the general population by definition, because only students who are doing reasonably well in school to begin with end up in AP courses … but I don’t know that AP really helps them to prepare for college,” Dede said.
Vargas encouraged dual enrollment instead, where high school students can take actual college classes and receive both high school and college credit for them.