A recent Birmingham News article, “Third of college-bound graduates in Alabama need remedial classes,” notes that over 50 percent of graduating seniors from 223 or Alabama’s 357 high schools needed to take remedial college classes in math or English. These results are consistent with Alabama’s 2010 ACT results, which indicated that the following percentage of Alabama’s high school seniors failed to demonstrate college readiness:

  • 34 percent failed to demonstrate college readiness in English
  • 69 percent failed to demonstrate college readiness in Math
  • 53 percent failed to demonstrate college readiness in Reading
  • 77 percent failed to demonstrate college readiness in Science

Parents must realize that they have an important role in ensuring that their children are taking the appropriate high school classes. Nationally, there are huge differences in the college readiness of students based on their high school course taking.

  • Only 7 percent of students who take less than the their high school core classes in math are college ready
  • Only 13 percent of students who take their high school core classes in math are college ready, and
  • 55 percent of students who take math classes beyond their high school core classes in math are college ready

A longstanding popular myth among high school students and their parents is the importance of focusing on GPAs as opposed to focusing on course taking—i.e., taking easier classes to get high grades as opposed to risking lower grades in more rigorous classes. Clearly, it is a case of, “Pay me know or pay me later.” Failure to enroll in rigorous high school classes can cost students thousands of dollars in tuition for remedial college classes, limit a student’s college options, significantly reduce a student’s access to college scholarship opportunities, result in lower SAT and ACT scores, and substantially reduce the likelihood of a student graduating from college.

Pay attention to your high school schedule!