The citation gap is the one of the most relevant gap that I have come across. I had a less than traditional high school experience, but when I finally entered my district high school my senior year, I expected to be fully prepared to enter college. However, when I started my college career at Binghamton University the following year, I realized that I was very much mistaken. I had not learned any other writing format other than MLA. This was unfortunate because MLA was essentially obsolete in college education. I could not understand why they drilled MLA into my brain if it was basically useless. The choice gap also hit me right in the face. I was so accustomed to being told explicitly what to write, how to write, and what formula to follow. Now, in college there were suddenly a large array of “choices”? How strange. You’re telling me that I have to come up with my OWN unique topic? Unheard of. This freedom, while should’ve been liberating, was terrifying. The style gap also plagues me in my college career. In high school, I would ask how long the response needs to be. They would say one paragraph, which according to “the formula” was 5-7 sentences. In college, when you ask how long the response should be, they say “however long or short you think it needs to be in order to efficiently respond.” I’m sorry– what? Again, this type of freedom was nerve-wracking. What is too long or too short? Similarly, the template gap was very relevant to me as well. The five paragraph essay is an idea that is so heavily focused on during high school but becomes a moot point in college. Once I started to branch out from that structure template, my writing became more unique, complete, and efficient. I was able to develop my own style and voice, rather than just writing 5-7 of the same structured sentences in a paragraph and then repeating that process five times. One thing I think I did learn in high school was the revision process. We focused a lot on this and although these “formal” revisions aren’t very prevalent in college, I do think I learned the tools to be able to revise my own work for my college classes, which has made me a better student.
2 thoughts on “Gaps in Education”
Thanks for your very thoughtful post. Wow, does it say something terrible that an education in writing left you “terrified” to write about your own idea. What does that tell you about how prepared you were to be able to support causes you care about and to make change where you deem it necessary?
It was discouraging honestly. Because I’m interested in social work, a huge interest of mine is social change. I have all of these ideas and didn’t feel like high school prepared me enough to have the confidence to communicate those ideas.