No Pain, No Gain

Intuition and common sense tell us that college should be harder than high school. But a funny thing has happened on our way to the perfectly equal society in which everybody has a college degree. Many college classes have been dumbed down in order to make sure passing them isn’t too much of a challenge. At the same time, school districts have been forced to create more and more AP classes and magnet schools, largely because the better students want to be challenged.

In a piece for the Pope Center, one UNC–Chapel Hill rising sophomore tells how his high-school teachers were right when they said he would get a rude awakening when he went to college for the first time. Only, it wasn’t quite the same lesson they said he would get. 

His sort of “upside-down” academic experience might be a major reason why many recent studies, such as Arum and Roksa’s Academically Adrift, suggest that many students gain little or no intellectual added value in college.


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