Family Resources on College Myths
Project and Purpose
There are many misconceptions about colleges that students may have, students will answer questions and dispel some myths about various college experiences.
MYTH: COMMUNITY COLLEGES HAVE LOW ACADEMIC STANDARDS.
“It’s like if you can’t meet the standards to go to a better college, you go to a community college,” says 16-year-old Julia. In fact, experts say, community colleges do have standards – some even require placement exams. It is true that students may find entrance requirements for a two-year school less stringent, but graduating may be just as tough as it is at traditional fouryear schools. “[Students] have to work and get up to a certain standard and they have to meet the standard before they leave the community college and go on to the four-year school,” says Betty Malloy, an academic dean at a two-year college.
MYTH: IT’S BETTER TO TAKE EASY HIGH SCHOOL CLASSES AND GET GOOD GRADES.
“Yeah,” says 15-year-old Anthony, “because classes that are harder are harder to pass.” But challenging courses prepare students for college work and are crucial for admissions. “The admissions counselors weren’t born yesterday,” says college professor Rob Jenkins. ”They look at the classes, they look at the designation – whether they’re college prep or honors or AP or whatever and they can get a pretty good picture if they’re looking at a transcript [as to] what student is capable of doing.”
“The evidence is clear,” says Diane Burns, a university vice-president. “The more challenging the course, the better prepared a student will be.”
MYTH: GRADES IN YOUR SENIOR YEAR DON’T MATTER.
“Yeah, I’m kinda dealing with that right now,” says 17-year-old Lauren. “Senioritis.” Fifteen-year-old Stephanie says, “It’s your senior year. You’re supposed to slack – it’s, like, a rule.” But, counters Rob Jenkins, “A slack senior probably leads directly to a slack freshman year [in college].” In fact, experts say, colleges are looking at senior grades more closely than ever. “You shouldn’t be taking fluff in your senior year,” says Diane Burns. “Even if you’ve got all of your requirements done at the end of your junior year, you want to take challenging courses in your senior year because you’re preparing yourself to be competitive.”
If this lesson was used in the classroom: Students considered several misconceptions about preparing for college. In class students discussed how to make sure that they take full advantage of their secondary school experience to be prepared for college. The video and discussion apply to the full range of post-secondary education options, not just four-year college.
Getting Ready for the Conversation
The video for this module features several youths who make incorrect comments about post-secondary expectations. Experts dispel the incorrect comments that students in the video make.
Conversation Starters and Practice at Home
The first item is for follow-up after viewing the lesson video and participating in class activities.
What “myths” were mentioned in the video? Why were these incorrect?
Almost all living wage jobs require some type of schooling after high school, what do you need to be doing now to prepare? Why?
Develop a person “After High School Plan” that includes the types of classes and other experiences necessary to meet your goals. Continue to revisit and revise this plan every few months and make adjustments as needed based on goals and dreams.
Schools to Home Resources on College Myths
Discussion and Self-Reflection Questions
- Did any of the college myths described surprise you? Please describe.
- What are community college options in your community?
- What does your high school course work say about you? Have you taken challenging classes?
- How have you witnessed “senioritis?” Who and what encourages and motivates you to stay on track throughout your high school career?