Ignoring prerequisites poses academic obstacles

Illustration by Maria Salvador, May 14, 2014
Illustration by Maria Salvador, May 14, 2014

Students who are unprepared for advanced courses may in fact be handicapping their grade point average if they can’t cut it. Is it better to have more prerequisites for a class or should we treat students as adults and let them make their way through a class, without the fear of dropping or failure? Even those who meet the challenge add to their workload, and possibly their stress levels.

Pierce has an abundance of classes that any student can register for, but the qualifications for taking certain classes aren’t always in the forefront of a student’s mind.   With the pressures of adding classes that fill up quickly in an overpopulated system, students are often left adding classes that they’re not quite ready for. Even though the schedule offers suggestions for classes students should take before enrolling in certain courses, in the heat of the moment this advice is often overlooked.

The college does offer assessment testing for the major academic subjects required to transfer so that a student can gauge where their aptitude for a subject lies. From that testing, it’s the student’s choice to select a class they can handle and hopefully pass. Some classes even require students to go through an assessment process before they are allowed to register for the class.

While some students may benefit from being challenged and taking a class above their specified level, many are left in a class that is beyond their comprehension and ultimately set themselves up for failure.

Not only does the student suffer from trying to grasp a subject they’re not prepared to handle, the other students in the classroom are left with less instruction while the teacher focuses more on the less-equipped student. Students owe it to themselves to be ready for the classes they take.

Students who plan ahead for the classes they intend to take have an advantage on those who are reckless with their schedules. It’s not easy to succeed without making a conscious effort to review the material which will be covered in classes with complicated subject matter. Rather than add to the necessary workload, it might prove to be easier to take a few preparatory classes, and save the anguish of getting a bad grade regardless of the amount of time and effort invested in studying.

It’s the responsibility of the college to provide classes for students to excel and transfer to a four-year university and it shouldn’t be any more stressful for students trying to figure out which classes they’re allowed to take. Regulations which help to put people in classes which meet their relative aptitudes will benefit the student body and teachers who will have less trouble relaying complex concepts to pupils. 

Taking preparatory courses before tackling tough classes might be the most realistic way to achieve one’s academic dreams. The value of being prepared, after all, speaks for itself.