Educational Freedom
by
Nicholas Stiles

Upon attending college for about three months, I have found that I enjoy being a college student more than being a high school student. In this short amount of time, I have seen that more freedom is allowed to students in college than in high school as far as most of the important decision-making is concerned. Such choices as schedule, attendance, or class selection are a few examples of how college is less restrictive than high school. Because of this educational freedom and having more control over my education, I find being a college student more enjoyable than being a high school student.

High school, through its control over many decisions that are made for students, seems to be more restrictive than college. Many aspects of the studentís life are pre-set and cannot be changed by the student to fit his needs. For example, the studentís time schedule is set every year. Every student must go the same amount of hours every year. In my case, I had to go to school from 7:30 a.m. to 3:10 p.m. every day, whether I actually needed all the time or not. I had to spend more time in some filler classes that I probably did not need to take but had to take to fill up my block of time. Another aspect of high school life that is restrictive is the mandatory attendance policy. In my high school, a failure to be in class for one day would immediately constitute a demerit and detention referral, unless a student arrived with a signed doctorís excuse. Such an attendance policy usually pulled students to class in fear of having to go to detention if they failed to attend. One final decision that is constrictive in high school is class choice. Class schedules for each year in high school are already set with the choice of electives being left to the student. In my high school, for instance, I had to take World History in my freshman year, followed by Government in my sophomore year, and finally American History in my junior year. All of these restrictions seem to inhibit the choices of the student more than in college and give students less decision-making in their educations.

College allows more freedom to its students than high school because of its deep belief in the studentís active involvement in his own education. Many of the decisions are left solely to the student, allowing the student much more freedom than he held in high school. The time schedule for the college student, for example, can be modified to fit the studentís individual need. I, for example, work during the afternoon, so I decided to put all my classes in the morning to allow for my job. This freedom allows me to set up a sufficient daily schedule with which I can work. Another freedom that college students enjoy is a less strict attendance policy. College professors allow their students to miss their classes occasionally if some sort of emergency should happen. I have yet to use this policy, but I feel more at ease knowing that I can go to my professor and negotiate if I need to miss a class. Class choice is also another freedom that comes along with college. Students have a choice of deciding which classes they want to take for each semester without restraint from the registrar. I have found this freedom to be especially nice because I am able to balance my semester schedule with both tough and easier classes so as not to overload myself completely. College gives much more freedom to its students than high school does, providing much more power to the student over his own education.

Upon comparing high school to college, I appreciate the freedom in college now more than ever. The fact that I was able to select my own class-time hours and classes has provided much more satisfaction and relaxing time to me than when I was in high school. Plus, the less strict attendance policy and caring professors have given me ease in getting help and the knowledge that I can work around an emergency if one should ever strike. It is because of this freedom that I enjoy college more than high school and that I will be successful for the rest of my time during college.

"Educcational Freedom" was written for Dr. Sara Myerís ENGL 1101 class during Fall 2001semester by Nicholas Stiles, then a freshman majoring in Business Adminstration.. Stiles is an Honor Graduate and a member of the National Honor Society. He also served as president of a company in the Junior Achievement Program.