Classical high school educators are not usually thinking about college readiness in regard to their students. In classical education, we think of the student as the person before us at this moment, not as preparing the student to be for a future moment. Philosophically, the problem becomes something like this: if grade school is preparation for high school, which is merely preparation for college, then once college is over, that person has fulfilled their life. Of course, thinking beyond this, a reasonable person would say that college prepares people for a career, which allows them to hopefully marry, which allows them to have and support kids, which must go to grammar school in order to get to high school so they can go to college and do the whole thing all over again. Or perhaps thinking further, some would say that we do everything in order to get and save money and retire, so we can enjoy a tropical climate and be waited on hand and foot. Save the tuition and go on a cruise!

When I began to teach in a classical high school, I was like any new convert to a point of view; a fanatic. I was convinced that a classical education was the answer to a dysfunctional world that seemed full of foolish experts, well trained philistines and mercenary clock punchers. I was a romantic. I had a student newly come to our school who said, “Mr. Snyder, I’m so excited to be here for a classical education. Now my earning potential will be unlimited!” I was disgusted. I would also get cranky when a student in junior year would take a week off from school to tour college campuses. Knowing what I know as an older person, I knew that if you always lived for a moment in the future, your present life would fly by unappreciated. It seemed to me that if the great goal was to prepare for college that we shouldn’t stop there; we should put down money on a gated retirement community townhouse on the 18th hole, and while we were at it, a deposit on a burial plot.

But, dear parent, college can be a blessing and not just a crushing student debt. In my experience, classical students have been able to attend whichever college or university they choose, and they find themselves well prepared and avidly recruited. Some of this is because they come from families who value education, and that attitude follows that student. Surprisingly, however, classical students are not only prepared for college, but statistically more prepared than graduates of private ‘prep’ schools. As C.S. Lewis remarked “when we shoot for Earth, we lose both it and Heaven, but when we shoot for Heaven, we get Earth thrown in. ” College readiness is thrown in with the attention given to thorough formation of the complete person that occurs in classical schools. Concordia Academy participates as an affiliate in the Association of Classical Christian Schools. In 2020, the ACCS ran a study comparing different types of secondary schools and their standing toward a variety of outcomes. The results showed Classical Christian Schools as far superior for college and career preparation. I half way regret to inform you that even if college readiness were the only reason you were choosing a school, you should choose a Classical Christian school.

See the results here

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