College-Ready, or Life-Ready?

By Jared Kirkwood

Is standardized testing preparing high school students for the road ahead? There is remarkable pressure placed on ACT and SAT test scores because thats the perceived gateway to the reach school or the dream future. People tend to operate as if you get a high enough test score and the rest of life will fall into place.

Do you remember your test score? I don’t. And no one has asked since I submitted a college application. Thats because test scores are the price of admission, not the road map to success. It would be similar to purchasing an airplane ticket to the great adventure you have been waiting for, but forgetting to pack. Both are critical, but without bringing the essential items you need, your trip will be short-lived. 

This has led to a recent discovery: while standardized test scores are on the rise, students who are “college-ready” are on rampant decline. 

Why is this? Could it be that the education system is designed to get students into college, but has failed to adequately prepare them for the road ahead? The ticket has been purchased, but the essential items they need for success have never been developed, emphasized, or encouraged along the way. We believe that students who demonstrate empathy, an ability to listen, make significant decisions, show flexibility in change, and know how to develop an informal network are not just better candidates for universities, but have the skills necessary to succeed in life. 

These “soft skills” are not directly taught in schools, and yet could hold the secret to maturity, success, and a meaningful life. Preparing for standardized testing is important because it could get students in the door to their dream college, but are you preparing them for the skills necessary to succeed once they get there? 

Jared Kirkwood is Chief Talent Officer of The YouSchool. He puts the O in the OC, plays Fantasy Golf, and drives a Rav-4. You can follow him @JaredKirkwood