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The Early College At Guilford College5
Posted July 19, 2014
- a student
This school provides a phenomenal opportunity to spend two entire years fully enrolled at a prestigious liberal arts college for two entire years at no cost. The school is consistently ranked among the top 25 high schools in the entire nation by such publications as Newsweek, and is undoubtably offers the best high school education in the state of North Carolina. While the workload is challenging, I found it possible to maintain A's in all my classes and get 8 hours of sleep per night. Time management is a skill requisite for success in this rigorous environment.
This school's better than a lot of traditional high schools, but it's still not for everyone. Don't make the same mistake I did - thinking you'll be fine at this school because you made all A's in middle school. Almost every night I have to choose between getting a decent amount (i.e. more than 5 hours) of sleep and getting a decent grade on an assignment. The emphasis this school puts on our grades has made me value them more than my physical & mental health. Previous reviewers said that this school needs to reevaluate its mission, and I agree. This school is meant to prepare us for college, but college isn't just about grades - it's also about learning to make schedules, to study, and to manage stress on our own, and the school has done next to nothing to help with any of this, nor do I feel like I have time to learn it on my own. I do feel like I "fit in" here better than I ever did at a traditional high school, but even the student community isn't perfect and I've still noticed some issues with exclusion, gossip, and even minor bullying. Some kids have managed well here without sacrificing their health but I know from talking to friends that the vast majority haven't.
Yes, this school has some appealing qualities: The students are bright and eager to learn and the curriculum is rigorous. But as a parent said, the school needs to evaluate it's mission .The methods of teaching aren't necessary pedagogical in this school. Nothing to enhance the creativity or encourage critical thinking. But, tons of lengthy boring assignments to keep students busy and up until 3am. I am certain that the numbers will look again good this year for the school, but this shouldn't be the only goal! The school needs to offer and promote a program that is designed for the academically gifted and talented.
Yes, it is a large amount of work, but the students start school in early August and finish in late May, with fall, winter, and spring breaks. Almost all the college amenities are open to the students, excluding dormitories of course, and students are given freedom to do whatever they want on their lunch hour. The curriculum is difficult, at least for the first two years, but then you are in the college classes and the workload slows. It could certainly improve some areas, such as lockers for students, but the teachers understand the amount of work, and they are lenient. The atmosphere is a lot more welcoming then a normal high school, and with only roughly 50 kids a grade, you become friends with everyone. There are also fun activities, such as a parents-sponsored activity each month, ranging from a dance, to ice skating, to a gingerbread competition, & everything in between. ECG is certainly better than any other high school, as the faculty want to see you succeed, and they encourage you on the way. There is a lot of busy work, and a moderate amount of projects, but anyone who is considering attending should, for the sense of well-being and accomplishment, not just the education.
This school looks great by the numbers, but be aware that it is not just "a lot of work". It's a ridiculous amount of work. My child is often up until 2:00 AM doing assignments. This school definitely values quantity over quality. It also places very little value on creativity, and technology use is practically non-existent. In addition, it has some lazy teachers who value busy work. One of the teachers on staff - also one of the highest paid teachers in Guilford County - does not teach; she gives students tons of books and articles to read and worksheets to complete; she even lets upperclassmen grade a majority of student assignments. The same teacher is pretty clueless about technology, and even though nearly every student has a laptop, she requires them to turn in handwritten note cards and to keep up with and turn in reams and reams of paper. While this school has some very appealing qualities, they really need to reevaluate their mission. The 9th & 10th grade years are much more difficult than any college experience I ever had. There is too much emphasis put on volume of work and too little emphasis on problem-solving, technology, creativity and depth of thought.
This is the high school we'd been searching for. Yes, it is academically challenging. Yes, the students are independent thinkers and are given the opportunity to push themselves and to experience college courses. But something unique about ECG that isn't often pointed out is the supportive community. Students say they feel as if they've finally found a place where they fit in, where academics are celebrated and encouraged. Upperclassmen support and mentor underclassmen. You'll see seniors who are friends with freshmen, which doesn't often happen in other schools. Rather than competing against each other, students mentor and tutor other students in an encouraging way, rather than trying to outscore each other. Since it is a smaller school, everyone knows everyone else and the clique atmosphere that you see in so many other high schools is missing here. It's an amazing school, both for academics and for socialization.
This school is a dream come true for the right students. Finish most HS req's the first two years, take college classes the next two. Get dual credit. Work really hard. Extracurriculars are available, but varsity sports are back at the 'sending' school. The school maintains a dynamic balance between college and high school cultures. Students have more freedom and a lot more responsibility than in a 'traditional' high school. Parents are very actively involved. Teachers get better every year as they and the school gain experience.
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