Many of these same problems arise in the transition from the junior high school to the senior high school.
Where the entire six years of the secondary school are housed in one building and considered as a six-year school, there is no problem of adjustment to a new building but other more important problems remain. For example, a student may need help in deciding whether to leave school at the end of the compulsory attendance age or to remain for graduation. In certain areas it is the custom of some parents to transfer their children from a public to a private school for the last two years. When this happens, there is need for some help in preparing the student for the changed life in the private school, especially if it is a boarding school.
2. Decisions about Leaving School: Soon after starting secondary school some children will begin to reach the place where further schooling of the kind available may not be desirable because each year brings them diminishing returns. How long to remain in school becomes an important problem for these students.
Research indicates that the 40 per cent of our students who do not graduate from high school are at a disadvantage for the rest of their lives, particularly with regard to employment. It is essential, then, that every possibility of adapting the school programme to serve the individuals be explored before the reluctant conclusion is reached that leaving school is the best available method of “continuing education.” 3. Learning Problems: Although the learning problems encountered in the secondary school are not always new, many now become of increasing importance.
Reading difficulties; rate of reading and comprehension; likes and dislikes of studies, teachers, and types of literature; differences in aptitude for different school subjects—all are very important factors in the student’s adjustment to the secondary school. A guidance programme will help diagnose the learning difficulty and plan steps to overcome it. The student may need remedial reading, help in arithmetic, a different course of study, a change of teachers, or perhaps prolonged counselling to overcome emotional barriers to learning. 4. Decisions about College: At graduation from the secondary school a decision must be made regarding enrolment in some type of post-high-school institution, such as business school, technical school, or college. Such a complex and crucial decision should be made with adequate guidance from teachers and counsellors. At present it seems likely that, with the limited facilities of colleges and with the great increase in the number applying for admission, the problem of being accepted for college work will be a very serious one.
The unprecedented demand for trained men and women in science and mathematics for increased educational facilities and scholarships place an added responsibility upon the schools for the guidance of students who have the abilities to succeed in such specialized training and who have the.desire and the ambition to enter this specialization. The choice of a college is one of the very important problems facing parents and high-school students, and it merits far more consideration than is usually given to it. Colleges are not all alike in entrance requirements, cost, atmosphere, or opportunities offered. Proximity to the home of the student is often a controlling factor. Some students do need a continuance of home influence, but others need to get away from home and learn to be independent. Some need a small college; others, a large one.
Two of the most frequent reasons for the choice of a college are that the father or the mother graduated from that particular college or that some friend, possibly the teacher or the counsellor did. These reasons are emphasized by the propaganda organised by nearly every college and by the alumni. The decision should be made on the basis of the needs of the student and the degree to which the institution meets these needs. When two institutions are equally suitable and equally good, other reasons may then properly enter into the decision. The Question is altogether too vital, and means too much in the life of the young man or woman, to be decided upon any other basis than the needs of the individual. Information about college entrance requirements should be known by students and parents long enough in advance of graduation from high school so that subjects necessary for entrance may be taken. At present the unprecedented demand for college education and the limited facilities throughout the country have changed the question for many from “What college shall I choose” to “What college will take me?” This condition has made it necessary to begin making plans several years in advance and to make application to several colleges instead of to only one.
The competition after a student enters college is also so great that much emphasis is placed on meeting the scholastic demands of the college and on adjustment to college life. This situation places an added responsibility on the secondary school for considering more carefully the type of college which is best suited to a student’s ability and needs and for preparing him to adjust himself to the scholastic and social life of the college. The difficulty, importance, and complexity of decisions about college argue strongly for the need for guidance services in secondary schools.