“More than anything at West Ottawa, _______ prepared me for college”

Justin Anair

 Michigan State University Senior, Carly Veld, rushes  towards the psychology building, almost a minute late for class. She crashes through the doors of her lecture hall  only to be greeted with the eyes of 300 students, and a clearly aggravated professor. Veld quickly takes her seat, takes out three different colored pens, and begins taking notes. She has favored this note-taking technique, and has been using it throughout her four years at MSU. Veld, a former West Ottawa student, took multiple classes here that helped prepare her for college, one of which helped her develop these good note-taking skills.  “The class that most prepared me for college was AP Psych with Mr. McNitt,” Veld said. “His class taught me how to actually take good notes, and how to study.”  AP Psych is just one of the many college prep classes that helps develops the skills necessary to succeed in college.

  Another AP class that is structured to prepare students for college is AP Biology. AP Biology’s goals are to create a college-like environment for students, and promote college-like learning and study habits. “This class forced you to prepare more for tests than what was taught in class. Reading the book and lab reports was necessary in order to get a good grade in the class, much like those things are also important for many classes in college,” University of Michigan Junior Alex Lindemann said. Lindemann, a Computer Science major, notices how closely the AP Biology class resembles a college class. “The format of AP Biology formed the study habits that I have found most useful in college,” Lindemann said.  

  Even though AP classes are great college prep courses, West Ottawa offers a variety of other classes that have proven beneficial for college students.

  Depending on the major, some students have to write an essay for each class at least once every three weeks.  “When I do end up having to write an essay, my professors expect them to be high-quality and flawless pieces of work,” said Michigan State Senior Stephanie Anair. Thankfully, WO offers many classes that help develop these essay writing skills. “The class that helped me prepare the most for college was probably Advanced Expository writing,” Anair said. “That class really gave me a good foundation for how to write a well structured paper, and I still use what I learned in that class when I write papers for my upper level writing class at MSU.” Anair has utilized her writing skills from this class to produce fine-tuned essays. Many students don’t understand the extent to which some of these classes help in the long-run. Advanced Expository has proven to help students develop good writing skills that are needed for college.

  Another WO graduate, Abi Fergus, focused on a different English class that helped her succeed at the college level.  “Mr. Strobel’s journalism class was most  beneficial in terms of the payoff and the skill set learned. Strobel made me think critically and consider what my readers would want to consume and how to express those messages,” Alma University Sophomore Fergus said. “Journalism helps develop life skills because you learn to communicate in a succinct manner, to interact with strangers, to be curious and ask the right questions, and to be aware of more issues and to dissect current events without bias.” Not only does Journalism help with writing essays, but the class is also designed for students to take a step out of their comfort zone, and interact with people they generally wouldn’t interact with. These skills are applicable in college and also in the real world.

  AP classes, IB classes, and specialty classes like Advanced Expository writing and Journalism do look good on a college resume. While that may be true, they offer so much more than just “looking good on a  college resume.” These college prep classes develop the necessary skills and prepare students for the next step at the college level.