The Challenges and Opportunities of Higher Education Today

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Education is a large part of American society today. The idea of college is something that can be both exciting and terrifying to some high school graduates. Some say that when they graduate from high school, they felt prepared for what college had in store. Others say they felt…

Education is a large part of American society today. The idea of college is something that can be both exciting and terrifying to some high school graduates. Some say that when they graduate from high school, they felt prepared for what college had in store. Others say they felt so unprepared and have even dropped out of college because of that.

So the questions is: What can Massachusetts do to try and help close the gap between people who do and do not go to college? Winifred Hagan and Cynthia Orellana came to Emmanuel on Monday, November 6 to try and help Emmanuel students answer this question.

Education Today

Hagan and Orellana spoke to about the position of all education in Massachusetts today. Over the years there has been a large decrease of MA high school students attending college after graduation. The public school system has seen a large increase of students with different backgrounds. Some students come from homes with no encouragement of higher education. Therefore, many students will not attend or even apply to college after high school.

Hagan and Orellana believe that it is the responsibility of high schools and colleges alike to work together to increase the rate of college attendance. They also believe that partnerships between high schools and colleges would better increase college attendance in today’s youth.

A student asked for an example of just how any of these partnerships might help people attend college.

“Recently, Uber and several community colleges across the state have partnered together to help students attend classes.” Orellana said. “Uber is helping community college students who lack transportation to travel to their classes on their college campuses so they can still have the ability to obtain their Associate’s degree.”

How to close the gap

There are several ways to begin closing the education gap. Community colleges are a great way for students to work towards their college degrees. Hagan stated that community colleges help students save money and can help increase the rate of college graduates.

K-12 education is key to helping close the gap in the college attendance rate. A student asked Hagan what can be done in public schools systems to fix this issue.

“Student support certainly can help.” Hagan answered. “Psychologists and counseling centers in high schools can help children to understand themselves and what it is they want during their lives. That support can help high school students to better understand the college transition.”

Students sometimes have trouble distinguishing themselves from others around them. They do not see that they all have the same opportunities as others. Some schools lack of a centralized academic system and those inequalities can often impair some children, making them believe that they are not ready for college and that they cannot handle the work.

Education is a large part of American culture. It is important to ensure that all students understand that they all have the same opportunities as those around them. That all skills today are valued and useful. With these beliefs and skills, Massachusetts will be able to work towards a future in which hopefully all high school students can receive a higher education.

Catherine Hayes ’21 is a Staff Writer for The Hub. She can be contacted at hayesc@emmanuel.edu.


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