College Access Counseling

My firm, College Access Counseling, Ltd., works with adults and organizations who counsel and support first-generation and minority students on the way to college. I teach the ins and outs of the college process, helping them build social and cultural capital for their students. Click here for more information. I also write for NACAC's blog, Admitted. You can read my entries as well as some of my colleagues', here. Click here to read one of my entries in the New York Times's blog, The Choice.

July 12, 2004

Rushing to Judgment

We expect our kids to achieve things at younger and younger ages. Kids are doing kinds of math that college students used to do--things ay beyond regular old calculus. I suppose this is fine, but why are we then complaining that our children aren't learning anything? I wonder if in our concern to prep them for the rat race (whether that's to college or to a job) we are pushing them in school to a point where they aren't ready developmentally. There must be some point where brain function and personal function can't keep up with each other....So as we push kids to achieve more, as we drive them ahead, perhaps we're actually just driving them crazy. Sure it may be OK for a kid to try super-advanced math (I pick on math but that's not the only thing), but what does that do to him or her if there's a feeling that it HAS to be done not that it's developmentally appropriate?
And now colleges are sneaking their application times earlier and earlier, encouraging kids to apply as early as March of their junior year...So are we taking away their childhoods even as we try to prepare them for adulthood? I'm not sure we're doing anyone any favors: We end up with tired, frustrated, burned-out kids and wonder why they take refuge in drink, drugs, and video games. In looking to the future, we often seem to be forgetting the present and the past.

1 comment:

njdrew said...

The school year is also extended deep into the summer with scores of academic "enrichment" programs in a variety of topics(math is big!). I think parents feel pressured to "advance" their kids into these.
Is it my imagination, or is this a phenomenon of my generation? Perhaps it's urban-only?
When I was in grade school in the 60's & 70's(not to mention H.S.), after the last day of school you couldn't get me near a classroom until September.

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