The more high school students take college classes, the more college becomes like a glorified high school.
It’s hard to admit—especially because I earned a few college credits during high school—but until we stop seeing college as something to finish as quickly as possible, the power of our higher education system will continue to decline.
Rather than supporting the pursuit of knowledge and experience, which should be the goal of higher education, college classes in high schools create the culturally destructive mindset that higher education is something to race through as quickly and cheaply as you can, so you can get a high paying job and start earning money.
Money seems to be the primary motivation for everyone who champions the college during high school programs. Parents support it because finances are tight and college tuition is intimidating.
Some employers enjoy it because it provides them with newer, younger members of the workforce. The government benefits because it uses up less of its education budget, and those new members of the workforce become taxpayers.
Obviously, money naturally plays a key role in choosing to attend a university because the costs of a four-year program can be daunting, but earning a higher education is one of the greatest investments you can make.
Receiving a lot of college credits in high school to save money and expedite your university graduation date only dilutes your educational experience and puts you in the nine to five work force sooner than usual, causing you to miss out on the transition from youth to adulthood that a four-year span at a university can provide (e.g., breaking away from parents, being immersed in a diverse community, etc…).
Not only does speeding through college damage your educational experience, but it also compromises the effectiveness of democracy. The goal to receive a diploma as quickly as possible just to become eligible for a specific job skips over the important goals of becoming fully knowledgeable and engaged in society.
How can we take advantage of freedoms like voting, serving jury duty, and raising families if our primary vision for higher education is career training instead of becoming well-rounded and informed participants in the world?
Joanna Peterson/Managing editor