Understanding College Prep Curriculum

There is a wide range of information concerning getting ready for college on the Internet, with most information leaning towards tips for being prepared. However, there is less discussion on choosing a college prep curriculum, with the focus primarily on STEM classes (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). Usually this is done without incorporating the various aspects of proper citizenship, good student conduct, and personal discipline that it takes to accomplish current and future goals.

An excellent college prep curriculum encompasses all elements, including the personal aspects that are critical to success in any college environment.

College Prep By The Numbers

According to the National Math and Science Initiative, less than half of high school graduates are ready for college-level classes. When this is compared to the numbers that clearly show that the majority, over half, of the fastest-growing occupations in the nation require a post-secondary education, the importance of college readiness coupled with a quality curriculum become readily apparent.

It is further projected that by 2018, over 69 percent of employment will require a post-secondary education. Thus illustrating the value of a proper prep and curriculum combination even outside of STEM majors.

Personal Preparedness

As previously mentioned, it takes a combination of personal preparedness in the form of college preparation skills and a quality curriculum. However, the first step is developing the necessary personal outlooks and habits needed to navigate the distractions and reality that will be faced in a college environment.

In order to best gain the most advantage from a quality curriculum, a student must:

  • have the correct study habits in place
  • have organizational skills
  • have excellent time management skills
  • have a strong base of ethics and hard work
  • have the necessary tools (such as electronic devices, pens, and paper)
  • have the flexibility to grow and adapt to changes as they learn new things

With all of these qualities and habits in place, a student is better prepared for college and opens the door to a higher probability of success.

Quality Over Quantity

A solid college prep curriculum should contain more than just a basic path to college success. It must incorporate all aspects of college preparation including dealing with potential future personal considerations and issues. Curriculums that focus solely on the STEM aspects but do not put the information in the correct context can create concerns later on during the college experience.

The quantity of information is not as important as the quality and the context in which the information is given. Thus the quality of the college prep curriculum must be examined to ensure that the provided information is both accurate and used in the proper context.

Individual preparedness combined with an excellent college prep curriculum is important to a person’s future college success. Individually preparing for college life is definitely important, but without a quality curriculum the information is out of context and can, in fact, become a hindrance instead of a help. A quality college prep curriculum encompasses all aspects of college life including proper discipline, citizenship and the drive to achieve.

Education and The Arts

We place a high priority on the arts as an integrated part of our approach to learning.

There have been many studies performed that demonstrate the benefits for students who participate in any type of arts program, whether it’s music, art, or drama.

In a report published by the Centre for Educational Research & Innovation in 2013, entitled Arts for Art’s Sake? The Impact of Arts Education, arts education is shown to be a means of developing both creative and critical thinking. It has also been shown to enhance a student’s performance in non-arts academic subjects, including mathematics, science, reading, and writing, and can even strengthen students’ academic motivation, self-confidence, and ability to communicate and co-operate effectively.

In a similar study done by the Guggenheim titled The Art of Problem Solving, over 400 fifth graders in New York City were carefully studied and evaluated through a two-year program called Learning Through Art. Through a careful evaluation of students from various schools who did and did not participate in the program, the Guggenheim was able to conclude that artistic studies have a profound effect on the problem-solving skills of young students. The results of the Art of Problem Solving found that students in the program performed better in six categories of literacy and critical-thinking skills—including thorough description, hypothesizing and reasoning—than did the students who were not in the program.

Fredericksburg Christian School continues to emphasize the value of the arts—an advantage FCS has over other schools who can no longer afford to offer these important programs to their students.

Music (band, orchestra, and choir), drama, and the visual arts are all part of FCS’s Fine Arts Department. Their approach goes beyond an academic emphasis.  “Creativity comes from our Creator” is their motto. They choose to incorporate the spiritual aspects of the arts and honor God in all they do—including the arts.