Finding Purpose in College Prep

English: A Harkness table being used at the Co...

Ok, here’s today’s question:  Could we be doing more to help young people answer the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

Correct me if I’m wrong, but as far as I can tell a “college prep” high school education means helping teens get into college and giving them the academic skills necessary to survive college-level classes.  And I’m not disputing the importance of those things.  College prep programs do a lot of good and I don’t want to take away from that.

I do, however, want to ask “why?”

People tend to raise eyebrows at me when I ask that, because they assume I’m asking as a challenge, but it really is just a serious inquiry.  Why is there such a strong push to get teens into college?  The standard answers I usually hear are “people need college to get a good job.” “College provides life experience.”  “Students need to be educated to get ahead.”  Or the all-too-generic “Because college is important.”

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