Skipping freshman year of collegemay not be a good thing
The June 3 Summit Daily tells of the new International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma program at Summit High, but the first thing it says is that it will allow recipients to skip their freshman year in college.Why does anyone imagine this is a good thing?Better and more diverse learning opportunities for the students of Summit High are good things. So why is the selling point for advanced classes like IB and advanced placement so often the ability to skip learning opportunities and/or save money in college?Are we afraid that, absent some obvious return, merely learning more is not enough to justify the expense or the effort?The fact is, skipping your freshman year, or even a significant number of freshman classes in college, can be a mistake.College is not like high school, either socially or academically. Our high school, with its closed campus, strict rules on attendance and graded homework assignments that act as a cushion on the overall grade does not prepare most students for the actual personal responsibility of college.Freshman classes put people facing these challenges together, and in many cases provide transitional assistance.For students with reasonably strong learning backgrounds, they provide an academic safe haven where the challenges of personal responsibility can be met without grades suffering. If you skip freshman classes, you have to jump right in to classes that may be very challenging, without having learned the system.If a student’s goal is medical school or other graduate school where success is measured by overall grade point average, skipping your freshman year or classes that would have been to some extent review may place a student at a disadvantage. Straight A’s are rare in college, and other applicants who did take those easy first-year classes will have better averages because of it.Summit schools are to be commended for offering advanced and challenging programs at all levels of the school system.However, they should stop trying to sell these programs as being a way to get a step ahead in college, and parents and students should be made aware of the potential pitfalls of accepting accelerated placement.
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