How does this prepare us for college?

The question weighs on the minds of weary NASH students, but NA alums say that high school gave them a leg up at college.

Kate Gilliland, Opinion's Editor

As the second half of my senior year settles in, I am starting to wonder if all the homework assignments, tests, and projects are still worth it. In college, I am going to be studying subjects very different from those I am currently learning about at NASH, so it’s increasingly hard to see how what I am doing now is preparing me for college.

It’s a concern expressed frequently throughout our time in high school, but according to NASH alumni, the rigorous academics at NA are so worth it.

NA Class of 2021 graduate Jack Gilliland said that all the difficult schedules and tests that NASH students face are certainly not fun at the time, but they pay off in the future.

“Although I am not using material from a lot of the subjects I took in my time at NASH, I use time management skills and studying habits every day at college,” Gilliland said.

Grads also point to the quantity and quality of AP and dual-enrollment classes offered here.

“I do think NA prepared me for college,” said Andrew Kollitz, NA ’21. “Some of the most beneficial classes I took at NA were AP Calc BC with Mrs. Volpe and AP Physics C with Mr. DiBucci.”

Alums say that an NA education also allows its students to breeze through general education classes at college and more easily get to the courses more focused on their major. They heavy workload at college does not come as much of a surprise to NA grads.

“[In college,] they’re frequently referred to as weed out classes, seeing who can handle the course load,” said Sara Weller, NA ’22. “Last semester, I was in General Chemistry, General Biology, and Calculus I. My classmates agonized over these classes, especially completing assigned readings and taking exams under time pressure.”

The classes I took [at NA] required me to start developing my study skills before I even got to college.

— Allie Kollitz, NA '19

Since NA students are already conditioned to lengthy tests and homework assignments, the transition from high school to college classes can be less of a shock.

“North Allegheny challenged me during my time there, and the classes I took required me to start developing my study skills before I even got to college,” said Allie Kollitz, NA ’19. “This was really important because unlike most of my peers that were shocked by the difficulty of college courses and had to start building study strategies from nothing, I had already been learning how I studied for a few years.”

Weller added that her NA science labs, in particular, proved to be excellent preparation for her college studies.

“Our labs for chemistry and biology are identical to 75% of the labs I did last semester, which is yet another way NA paves the way for its students,” she said.

So while the day-to-day challenges of academics at NASH can cause students to question the purpose of it all, it’s worth taking stock in the assurances of alums who are now thriving in college.

“I’m not concerned about this semester because I know I have a huge amount of background knowledge and skills that are easily transferable,” Weller said.