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September 29, 2023

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Preparation for college begins as early as middle school

The education students receive before beginning higher education can make a difference in how their lives are during college.

“The strategy of high schools is that high school makes students ready for college,” said Jim Fritz, the superintendent of Anthony Wayne Local Schools.

Anthony Wayne Local Schools is located in the suburbs of Toledo, 20 minutes away from Bowling Green.

The ways Ohio schools prepare students for college range from college prep classes to actual college classes.

In Bowling Green City Schools, students start their preparation for college before they start eighth grade, said Doug Niekamp, a guidance counselor from the district.

“We start in eighth grade or before that and talk to the students about registration and scheduling for the next year,” Niekamp said. “We talk to students about PSEOP [Post Secondary Enrollment Options Program], which is available to students as early as eighth grade.”

While college planning starts when students have not gone to high school yet, the efforts to prepare them for college continue throughout their high school education. University junior Carly Crawford said her high school education prepared her for college.

“We had a lot of [advanced placement] courses offered I took to prepare me for college,” Crawford said.

Bowling Green City Schools prepares students for either a two-year or four-year university.

Students have the opportunity to attend college fairs at either Owens Community College or Perrysburg High School. In their junior year, students put together their resumes and cover letters and look at various universities, Niekamp said.“Students have access to OCIS [Ohio Career Information System], which is a big database with college information, such as majors, the cost of college, financial aid and other information,” Niekamp said.

In Anthony Wayne schools, students’ days replicate what college looks like, Fritz said.

“We listen to students who come back and tell us about their college experiences and how we helped them prepare for college,” Fritz said.

While schools have their various ways of preparing students for college, colleges also offer ways for students to find help if they need it.

“Students who need help get help,” said Eric Myers, the coordinator of accreditation and licensure and a lecturer in the College of Education and Human Development. “The University provides the math lab in Olscamp, writing labs and everyone has basic assistance.”

Myers has seen both sides of the education spectrum, having been involved with public school education as a board member of the Bowling Green City Schools and being a lecturer at the University.

While students have high scores on their SAT and ACT testing, 40 percent of students still need to take remedial courses, Fritz said. But testing is different from university to university.

The roles of teachers in the students’ lives are one of the most important factors.

“The strongest asset in education is the teachers. As a group, they’re dedicated and hardworking,” Myers said. “Compared to other states, pay is not high, but dedication is what leads students to success.”

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