Opinion: High school graduation requirement: college admission

Christina Bucciere is a senior journalism major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected]

Christina Bucciere

The district board members of the Corbett School District, about 22 miles outside of Portland, Ore., will vote on a new graduation requirement in December: college admission.

The requirement, as posed by the district’s superintendent, is expected to pass, having received an early vote of 6-0 after its first introduction.

In his proposal, Superintendent Randy Trani said the district’s law firm agrees the requirement is lawful, and other school districts around the country have similar graduation requirements.

As the superintendent puts it in his proposal, “When a student graduates from Corbett High School what we want to give EVERY one of them is the choice to follow a path of their choosing, either right at that moment, or a few years down the line.”

Although I am sure to some it might seem too forceful, I support this idea for multiple reasons.

First, this requirement does not mean students have to enroll in college; they simply must apply.

In his proposal, Trani points out that for those students who do not wish to attend college or those who cannot meet the acceptance requirements, they can still fulfill this requirement by applying to one of the community colleges in the area that have an open-entry general admission policy for all high school graduates.

Second, this requirement will not interfere with a graduate’s plan to enter the workforce, military or any other pathway they choose, rather it will simply offer them another choice they can consider at any point in their life.

Third, this requirement will not cost a graduate’s family any out of pocket expenses if they do not want it to. Families can choose to spend as much or as little as they want on college applications, especially because the community college application process is cost-free.

Finally, I support this graduation requirement because of something I learned in high-school psychology class: Humans are bad at recognizing what we will want in the future. In more scientific terms: affective forecasting.

According to the American Psychological Association, affective forecasting is the idea that people tend to miswant. Wanting is tied to predicting; to want something is to predict that when we get it, we will feel good. The trouble with this is, sometimes people make mistakes in determining how much they will or will not want something in the future.

Because humans often misjudge their future wants, which can have a serious effect on their future opportunities, I think this graduation requirement is important in protecting students against a lack of opportunities.

Although college is not for everyone, those students who decide early on that they do not wish to attend college could potentially be miswanting. It might be easy for a sophomore to denounce the possibility of college, but what happens when they reach the end of senior year and realize they made a mistake?

According to the Institute of Education Sciences, those who hold a bachelor’s degree earn 97 percent more on average than those with a high school diploma, so college is an option that shouldn’t be disregarded lightly.

I support this graduation requirement for all these reasons, but mostly because it’s about choice. It’s about ensuring students have options. Options never hurt anyone, especially a young high school graduate with a bright future and little direction. By showcasing the option of going to college, we protect students against a restricted future or worse, the possibility of regret.