Reaching Higher: Are Students Prepared for College?

June 01, 2016

Anthony Mendez sat down next to First Lady Michelle Obama at the State of the Union address in 2015. He paid close attention to everything that the President was saying in his speech, trying to understand the deeper politics of it all. When President Obama mentioned a plan to make all community college free, Mendez stood and erupted in applause and happiness.

high school students not prepared for college
But that feeling quickly faded once he returned home from Washington DC.

Mendez was a shining beacon of success. He grew up in the Bronx, the son of a mother on welfare and a father who was mostly an absent alcoholic. His mother worked but survived paycheck-to-paycheck. They were homeless for a while, living out of a shelter in Brooklyn. But he persevered, knowing college was what he needed to do for himself and his family.

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Once he got to the University of Hartford, though, he couldn’t handle the academic stresses. In fact, he didn’t even fully finish his first semester before realizing that his grades were too low. In his mind, the pressure had mounted: “I was a first-generation college student. Everything was new and nobody had really prepared me for it. So many people — my family, my friends, my high school teachers — had such high expectations for me. I had failed.”

And Mendez surely isn’t the only one dealing with the stresses and lack of preparation for college. A study from earlier this year said that only 37% of high school seniors were prepared for college math and reading, while another study noted that over 60% of college freshmen weren’t emotionally prepared for college. The SAT and ACT are supposed to measure college preparedness, so the question becomes: are the exams doing their jobs?

So how prepared are high school students for college? Anthony Mendez wasn’t prepared to live away from home full time under the pressures of an undergraduate degree, but he’s since turned things around. What steps can students take to better prepare for the huge transition that is college?

About The Author

Drew Evans
Drew Evans

​Drew is a content and social media guru. When he’s not working, he loves to photograph, play music, play sports, and travel. He is also weirdly obsessed with Thai food, Girl Scout cookies, and learning new languages (even though he’s not fluent in any). For any editorial ideas, contact info@admitsee.com.




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Barnard ‘18


Accepted to Barnard

Barnard '18 | My passions lie in education, psychology, and human rights, all from the lens of an African Studies major. My transcript and application were far from conventional, but neither am I.
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Georgetown ‘18


Accepted to Georgetown, NYU, Barnard, Northeastern

Hi, I'm Shannon! I'm from San Jose, California, spent a gap year living and working in Leipzig, Germany, and now I go to college in Washington D.C. I've shared everything I can remember about the college application process with y'all! :)
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UMich ‘20


Accepted to UMich, GA Tech, Case, Michigan Tech

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Accepted to Rice, Rochester, Case, Emory, Hamilton, Pitt, Union, Miami

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