College-Ready, Set, & Go: Are Students in Your Church and State Ready and Set?

Ready, set, go! Hispanic churches know that God has a calling and purpose for our students, and for many Hispanics this involves a journey through the rigors of a 4-year college or university. However, many Christians may be fooled to believe that God gets us ready for our calling upon entering the college classroom or only after high-school.

I remember when I entered high school, my counselor gave me the choice between three tracks to take toward graduation. The tracks went something like this: Accelerated, Recommended, and Distinguished.

Whether or not this was a result of my minimal intelligence or failure on the part of the guidance counselor, the only understanding I gathered of the different diploma options was that one was to “finish high-school fast” (in three years), one was to “have a normal experience,” and one was “the more difficult option.”  Yet, as you can already guess, this is an oversimplified explanation. A much more important question that parents and students fail to ask in high-school is which diploma track will give me the best shot at succeeding in a 4-year university? In other words, which one will ensure I am “college-ready?”

Although high-school graduation rates are up and college enrollment has increased, still many students graduate from high-school only to find out they need to take remedial courses, or they declare themselves unprepared for college altogether. Rightly, this should not be the case for believers, for the Word of God tells us that we are more than conquerors! (Rom. 8:37) The FE Coalition believes that God calls our students toward greater heights and that all students deserve the opportunity to take high-school courses that adequately prepare them to enter the workforce, the military, or college.

The path through high-school and into college-career options looks very different from one state to the next. In a complex and often confusing landscape of high-school pathways, how can we ensure that all American high-school students graduate college and career ready? Achieve’s Graduating Ready site helps to provide clear information about high-school pathways, high-school requirements, and the differences across states. Here you can explore data that offer insight into the different high school assessments that students will take, the options for graduation available to students across states, and how well those options align with expectations for higher education and the workforce.

I would never say that a student is not college-material, and yet I understand that not all students will be called to attend college. However, I submit to you that the success of entering and completing college should be decided by a student’s determined career path and not by the failure of his high-school to adequately prepare him for college-level courses.

There are good works that God has prepared in advance for our students to do (Eph. 2:10), and my prayer is that high-school would be a place where the preparation for this work is advanced and not hindered. Hispanic evangelical churches have long been a place where the faith community commands students “Go!” Let us also be a faith community that understands how our students’ high-schools should and must be a place where they also receive the commands “Ready!” and “Set!”

For a Just education,

Rev. Girien R. Salazar
Executive Director, FE Coalition