WO grads are ready for college

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Josef Arner

It’s six o’clock on a Wednesday morning in early September. College freshman and West Ottawa Alumni Lexi Manning walks into her three-hour sociology class at Ferris State University. The previous days, she had been working on her full chapter of homework and preparing to talk and participate in class. As she sits down, she glances at the student to her right and left, looking at their awful notes, and credits Instructor Mike Jaeger’s AP Biology class for her superior note-taking skills.

   The trend that Manning noticed with her classmates is not the only example. Time and time again, WO alumni credit WO and its courses with their ability to better handle college than many of their classmates. Many classes at WO are known to be especially difficult to high schoolers. AP classes like Biology, Chemistry, World History, Physics, and Calculus BC are courses that come to the forefront when speaking about difficult classes. These classes serve a greater purpose than just dumping tons of work on the students. They prepare the students for college.

   College freshman and WO alumni Nick Hopp attributed to WO his ability to listen to a lecture by an instructor and to convert the important information he hears into well organized notes to review later for a test. Hopp has seen that many of his fellow classmates aren’t able to pay attention in class as well to the lectures. They either write down every word the instructor says or barely anything. Hopp learned how to properly write down all the important information from a lecture in order to go back to the important points of the lecture later for review from his class of AP World History, which had constant notes.

   Another college staple that WO high school students have already become adjusted to is the outside of class workload. In many high school classes, students are assigned homework on a nightly basis. Students can receive a paper in AP Language and Composition, a section of problems in AP Calculus, another essay to write in AP World History, and a chapter to read and answer problems on in AP Chem…all assigned on the same day and due within the next week. WO Sr. Michaela Shoemaker is one of the many students that considers the way that homework is assigned to be “incredibly unfair,” but in reality, it functions as an accurate representation of college workloads. Professors often don’t care about how much homework a student will have in other classes. Hopp said,“[Students have] much less class time but a slightly more heavy workload” in college compared to WO.  He remarked that this adjustment was made easier due to AP Calculus BC, which Hopp took as a senior.

   General knowledge of subjects is another place that WO students have excelled at in college. Manning commented that in her anatomy class, she doesn’t, “even have to attend class except for my labs because [WO Instructor Bob Myers] taught the class so well that I know everything that was going on.” Another alumni that gained knowledge at WO to get ahead was college freshman Nate Johnson, who said that AP Computer Science at the high school “put me one class ahead for my degree,” putting him ahead of many of his peers. The knowledge passed on for college preparedness to WO students is not just prevalent in higher level classes though. College freshman Marian Pawlowski at Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC) remarked that her college level government class was made easy by her prior experience in the high school level government class here at WO compared to her other classmates that had taken government classes in their high schools.

   One reason that WO excels in college preparedness is its multitude of class offerings. With over 20 AP classes, a full IB (International Baucelauate) diploma program, a college dual enrolment program, and even more classes available through Michigan Virtual School (MIVU) WO has no shortage of offerings. The offerings within standard classes can be greater as well, as Manning observed in college anatomy that her “peers that haven’t ever dissected anything in anatomy classes.” Combining to give WO an above average quality when it comes to offering students classes.

   While WO students are in high school they may feel that every other high school must be something like this. But as soon as they get to college, WO students realize that this school does an excellent job at preparing students to handle college.