High school dropouts drop in on colleges

Teachers often lament the apathy of their students. For generations, students have been privy to the frustrated sighs and rants of professors who chide lazy students and contend that the problem is getting worse.

Now, a survey reported by the United States Education Department is begging the question: Are those students simply lazy, or are they woefully unprepared?

According to the survey, in 2003-2004 school year there were about 400,000 students who did not complete high school but were enrolled in colleges nationwide.

In New York, the issue is on the rise and the state is questioning whether financial aid should be given to those who did not get their diploma.

However, the biggest question in this debate should not be about the money; it should be about the student’s ability to get through college – and if they obviously can’t, why they are being admitted in the first place.

While many people would have liked to skip high school, it was still a learning experience. High school holds many lessons that are necessary and lays the groundwork for college and the world thereafter.

“In too many cases, students fail to graduate from college because they were admitted to programs for which they were academically under prepared,” New York governor’s spokesman Scott Reif said to the New York Times.

Brandy Micale is a student at Hudson Valley Community College, and she never completed high school. She told the New York Times that she had never written a research paper before entering college. While Composition I and II exist to teach students how to write essays, the instructors expect their students to know at least the basics.

Despite the fact that undergraduate degrees are the new high school diploma in the currency of résumés, in order to get the degree, people need to be prepared. Yet colleges are seemingly apathetic about preparedness. They act like businesses seeking as many customers and as much profit as possible.

At Interboro Institute in New York, the state found that the staff had been cheating the government out of state and financial aid. It had cheated on tests to have the students qualify.

Even USF has had run-ins with cooked books. In 2004, two admission officers deleted 500 SAT scores and 400 ACT scores to raise the school’s average. Both resigned and the University would never officially condone the behavior, but it’s unlikely that the two did it on a lark. There’s more than one way to raise admission scores. If pressure was being exerted to raise the average score, why not elevate it naturally by raising the standards of admission? The answer’s probably hidden somewhere in the thousands of dollars those hundreds of scores are worth.