By HARRY AURORA //
For some, preparation for postsecondary education starts at a young age. Many children who aspire to be doctors, lawyers and scientists understand the required commitment to academic achievement, and that it continues well beyond high school.
These particular students typically have not only the support of their family members, but also a role model – a teacher or guidance counselor, perhaps, instilling in them a drive to achieve at their highest scholastic level.
High achievers can still encounter challenges on their journey to high school graduation, but they usually have access to many resources that will best prepare them for academic success. Therefore, they’re more likely to graduate, go on to college, win an internship, etc.
But not all students are so well-equipped, and for the less-advantaged, the journey to college can be much less smooth.
Often, students from low-income families struggle significantly to make postsecondary education a reality. These students may be preoccupied with working part time (or even full time) to help support their families, and education is frequently put on the back burner because of their priorities at home.
Higher education is not necessarily what their parents – or the students themselves –imagine for their future. But it is imperative that all students be given the same opportunities and resources to achieve their best-possible academic success.
For low-income students to achieve at the same level as their cohorts, access to libraries and tutors is a must. Resources like tutors and libraries are often undervalued and underused in poorer communities, but class time alone will not get less-advantaged students to a comparable academic level as their higher-income peers.
Community-based learning opportunities can enrich the learning experience, while tutors can help to fill educational gaps and build up students’ confidence, preparing them to perform better in the classroom and on assessments. High schoolers will be less likely to fall behind in their studies and more likely to graduate, and to go on and succeed in postsecondary education.
Students with limited resources can always benefit from someone motivating them and helping them reach graduation day. If students are taught from a young age about the value of academic achievement, and then have someone to guide them through the process, they’ll have a much greater chance at academic success.
Often, just having a trusted someone to learn from – whether it’s a tutor, a teacher, a parent or anyone else – is all a student needs. One person can truly make a difference in a student’s life.
Educators need to seek innovative ways to emphasize the importance (and rewards) of academic success, starting at the elementary school level and keeping it up through the end of high school. If this message resonates, students will be more inclined to succeed – academically, and beyond.
Harry Aurora is the founder and CEO of Jericho-based digital-education innovator iTutor.