Courses That Don’t Compare

Braedon Harris, Co-Editor-in-Chief

Transitioning to college may be a bigger jump than most students expect. Research from the American Psychological Association shows than more that 30 percent of college freshman drop out before their sophomore year. The reasons behind this can be linked to poor academic preparation, lack of financial support and the absence of educational motivation.

There are many students who feel as if their AP courses and the heavy workload that comes with them is just like what they will see at a university. These courses are advertised as being college level and offer the opportunity for course exemption in college. For this reason, AP and dual credit coursework is often viewed as synonymous with college courses.

“Since it’s an AP class, I think it should be somewhat close to a college class,” senior Adrian Velazquez said. “It’s supposed to mimic a college class, so I think all that work is basically what you’ll see in college.”

However, this is not always the case. Although the curriculum may be identical, the way it is given to students is not. In college, the student’s daily reminders will be replaced by a syllabus given at the beginning of the year. The daily interaction with teachers is stripped away, and academic expectations are much higher.

“The courses in college are not bad,” said former Raider Jairo Gallardo who is currently a nursing major at UTA. “The homework can be time consuming and require you to read the book, but it’s doable. The cons would be the fact that your classes are huge, so you get no one-on-one lessons unless you schedule an appointment with the teacher on your own time.”

For those who were not in advanced courses in high school, college can hit them even harder.

“Depending on the student and their work ethic, it can be little to no change,” Gallardo said. “The students who aren’t used to the AP classes might feel uncomfortable and not used to the workload, but it’s totally doable with time management.”

For first generation college students, the gap is even wider. According to the Washington Post, nearly one-third of the students entering a two or four-year university each year are first generation college students. For these students who are the first in their family to go through college, the odds of reaching graduation are even smaller. Only 40 percent of these first generations students will earn their degree, opposed to 55 percent of those who had parents who attended college.

“For me, it wasn’t hard,” Gallardo said. “It was more of a challenging transition. You have to get used to paying bills, attending school full time and overall being independent.

Typically, first generation students come from low income households. As a result, many of them are left to worry about college debt as their families are unable to contribute towards college expenses. However, with more programs arising to provide a free college education to those in need, an effort is being made to solve this problem.

With more and more programs geared towards getting students into college who otherwise would not be able to go, it is imperative that schools make a larger push to prepare students. Programs like the Dallas County Promise have the great opportunity to provide an education to all students at little to no cost, while risk the chance of graduating students who are not prepared for the next level.

“There’s a lot of families that don’t have enough money to support their children to go to college,” Velazquez said. “With this program, it’s basically free so they literally have no excuse not to go and get an education.”