Prepare for life


High schools need to incorporate mandatory classes for real world

Elaine Gerou editor-in-chief
Elaine Gerou

What is the difference between a subsidized and unsubsidized loan? How do I build good credit? When is a good time to move out? For many high school graduates, the answers to these questions are unknown.

High school is great for learning about algebra and American literature, in addition to being forced to slowly waddle around the track, but the inconvenient truth is that these wonderful skill sets do not provide students the knowledge to survive in the real world.

After one moves out of their parents’ house, they must know how to apply for loans for cars and houses, how to achieve good credit and how to file yearly taxes amongst other adult responsibilities.

In high school, every student can graduate without knowing how to do any of those adult chores even though when they graduate, most are technically adults in the eyes of the law, being 18-years-old. While physical education and learning foreign languages that may never be used outside of class are mandatory high school graduation requirements, learning the basics of the real world is sometimes not offered. When courses do offer that knowledge, my experience showed that it wasn’t taken seriously by anyone involved.

I took a course called “Living on Your Own” when I attended Plymouth High School, which taught on matters such as mortgages, types of leases, finding compatiblew roommates and changing tires. Although the material had important topics, the class seemed to be treated like a blow-off. Homework was not given often, and when it was, it was easy work with few questions. The tests were simple as well, and I believe we may have even been able to use notes on some. With how easy the course was, almost everyone should have gotten an A, but that does not make sense when not everyone gets an A in real life. In reality, people go broke and bankrupt, people move out too soon and have to move in with their parents again and other unwise decisions are constantly made.

Supporting yourself is not always easy, so courses about living on your own should not be either.

IMAGE FROM High schools should prepare students for college and the real world by offering classes that simulate living independtely.
High schools should prepare students for college and the real world by offering classes that simulate living independtely.

One subject my class in high school seemed to completely skip was college. In today’s society, the job market is getting more competitive, so jobs are increasing the credentials needed to weed applicants out. Almost every job with a decent pay requires a college education now, and high school students are usually not exactly sure how college works.

Before a student leaves high school, they should have been taught how to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid—also known as FAFSA, how to apply for scholarships and the difference between a subsidized loan, unsubsidized loan and a grant.

Schools cannot rely on parents to teach their children this information for several reasons. Some parents simply “baby” their children and do their kids’ work for them rather than teach them, some parents are not fit to teach these subjects because they did not personally go through these experiences themselves and some parents are poor examples for their children to follow.

Although many parents are capable and will teach their children how to survive on their own, our education system cannot rely on that back-up plan. With society evolving, high school curriculums need to as well. High schools cannot continue to send their students off into the real world without the information they need to succeed.