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US Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings recently stated that, "There are far too many Americans who want to go to college but cannot-because they're either not prepared or cannot afford it" (cited in US Department of Education, 2006, p.1). Years before the financing of a college education becomes an issue, the preparation for college needs to be taking place…
For those that are lucky enough to enter college, many will be faced with poor academic skills, and hours of remedial courses just to catch up. In addition, preparation needs to include the cultural and social aspects, as well as the academic aspects of college. I propose reforming higher education to begin the college education in the 10th grade through a series of programs that prepares students both culturally and academically for a college education.
While a college education in the US costs twice as much as the same education costs in other industrialized nations, the US has fallen well behind these same nations in the rate of college attainment. Many students will drop out of high school, as they see no hope of ever realizing a higher degree. For the ones that do graduate, many will not have the cultural capital required to enroll in college. Students in high school have a significant need to be groomed for college admission. They may have a language deficit, poor study habits, or grades that do not meet the requirements for admission. Many of these students "are unlikely to have participated in campus visits, spoken with college representatives, leafed through college catalogs, or participated in other activities that create college readiness" (Hagedorn and Fogel, 2002, p.171). ...
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