I am the parent of two daughters; one will graduate high school this week, and is planning to attend a community college in the fall. The other graduated last June from UC San Diego and just completed her first year at UCLA School of Medicine. I attended a CSU, graduating in the mid-80s.
I believe college is more difficult today than it was when I attended in the 1980s. I believe that the scarce resources and competitive entrance requirements have caused young students to take on considerably more challenging high school courses, often simultaneously attending the local community college, and taking Advanced Placement courses in high school. When my husband and I graduated high school, we had never heard of AP courses.
I think this race to get ahead is hurting our young people. Spending all of their time in an effort to try to make the grade and build their resumes of extracurricular activities, does not allow them time to explore and cultivate their own innate interests and talents.
I think the “college no matter what” attitude of parents is hurting some young people who might have great drive and inspiration if allowed to follow their own passions. The academic setting is not the only environment to grow the great leaders and innovators of tomorrow and some of those future innovators may lose their passion or get lost in the crowd because of institutionalized learning.
My husband and I have long thought education is wasted on youth. When we were in college, we were just there to get our tickets punched, get the degree and get on with our “real lives”. We now look back and yearn to have the time to immerse ourselves in learning, wanting to go back and take that geology class which now seems so interesting, holding the secrets of our universe, but at the time it was just one more chore hanging over our heads.
I hope parents will support their children in finding a passion and a talent and working hard to make the most of that talent. If and when the time is right, then go to college when they are ready.