A well-worn slogan may be what you need here: Just Do It.

A well-worn slogan may be what you need here: Just Do It.

It's easy for us to understand what push yourself means in Nike's terms especially with the completion of the 29th Olympic Summer Games still fresh in our memories but it can sometimes be a stretch to apply that philosophy to high school, where grades, after-school activities, social circles, and everything else including pure disinterest, get in the way of signing up for classes such as physics eek!
The second step of the KnowHow2GO campaign urges students to push themselves by taking the tough classes now, because they are preparation for college. But why? Why should I prepare for college, a student may wonder. Why does taking physics, chemistry, calculus, or some other tough class prepare me for college?

It pays to pursue continuing education after high school whether it's college, vocational training, or other educational endeavors. According to a study based on the Census Bureau, the average bachelor degree holder makes about $1 million more in his or her lifetime than a high school diploma holder does (Day and Newburger, 2002). Only preparation can make this study a reality for the student who finds the claim intriguing.

And let's be real: post-secondary coursework is a lot more challenging than secondary coursework. In other words, college classes require more critical thinking and reasoning skills than high school classes. High school classes are not a walk in the park, but in order to be at a post-secondary level, college courses must require more of a student than high school courses. It is constructive and beneficial to take the most challenging coursework possible while still in high school so upon entering a college classroom, students can have a more solid course foundation from which to begin college-level coursework and be more familiar with the type of thinking and effort required to do well. Students who challenge themselves in high school will be able to more confidently face college-level coursework and be more apt to work through the challenges of these higher academic demands to finish their degree or program.

In order to graduate (not with honors) in Ohio, students must complete four units of English, three units of math, three units of social studies, three units of science and one unit of health/physical education. (For more details, and to learn about the honors diploma, search 'graduate requirements' at www.ode.state.oh.us.) This leaves six units of electives, of which only one or two should fulfill certain requirements, to be chosen based on a student's interests and goals.

One way to prepare for college and to prepare for life after high school in general, is to consider using elective units to take more challenging courses, especially in science, technology, engineering or math (STEM). Accepting the challenge to take more challenging levels of these courses, as well as language arts and social studies courses, will push students to make sense of the world around them by applying concepts and ideas, encouraging them to be creative students who are problem solvers, innovators, inventors, logical thinkers, and strong communicators-both oral and written-according to ohiostem.org. Those students will be prepared for college and, more importantly, prepared for a life of overcoming challenges, pushing oneself, stretching limits, and ultimately, life-long learning.

Last year the KnowHow2GO campaign was introduced around the nation to demystify the getting-to-college process. KnowHow2GO embodies, sometimes quite literally, simple steps that will guide any student toward education after high school. See pages 5 and 8 for details of all four steps. For more information, check out www.knowhow2go.org.

http://www.ericdigests.org/2003-3/value.htm; (Day and Newburger, 2002)

http://www.ode.state.oh.us/GD/Templates/Pages/ODE/ODEPrimary.aspx?Page=2 &TopicRelationID=1202