Still reading this week’s The Chronicle of Higher Education, I see an article titled, “Top Students, Too, Aren’t Ready for College.” My eyes widen with delight that someone with the credentials of the author, Elaine Tuttle Hansen, is speaking up about something of which colleges and universities do not have the time nor the resources to attend. Dr. Hansen writes that many academically talented students “may have college-readiness problems.” One student she described admitted that his work ethic and study skills were atrocious.
When students are academically talented, they slip by without seeming to need extra attention. It saddened me when I read what the student said after realizing that he was not ready for college. He said, “I would like to know the person I would have become had I been engaged as a young learner.” This student, as so many other academically talented students, could live up to his potential if he had an opportunity to be in engaged with a group and a highly skilled facilitator who would encourage students to think about their future, their contributions as citizens, and their obligation to take advantage of their privileges. These students could benefit greatly from a cocurriculum laboratory experience in which student affairs partner with faculty to help students become more college ready and more ready for a fulfilling life.
Dr. Hansen concludes the article on the need for college readiness for academically talented students with these words:
In this new reality, college readiness, and the lack of it, should be everyone’s problem. Educators at all levels should work together to develop programs and courses that support all students in reaching their potential, including advanced learners who need to challenge themselves beyond A’s.
The world needs to know the people our children can become if they are engaged as young learners.
As I noted in my previous blog, faculty cannot do it all. We need cocurriculum laboratories throughout the education cycle for students from elementary school through college. The engagement, introspection, and reflection afforded by cocurriculum laboratories are never complete.