Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Editorial: A New Diploma for a New World

By Alexa Ritacco

For students on Long Island the competition for getting into college is extremely fierce. Most find it hard to set themselves a part from the crowd. Having the high grades won’t cut it, being involved in every activity won’t help as much as you’d think and a service trip to Costa Rica, although an excellent way to make a difference, will not be a deciding factor. So what can students do to gain the competitive edge? A new program called the 21st century diploma can definitely get you on the right track.
The program was just recently introduced to us at our grade level assemblies by Ms. Jill Walther. She has been working exceedingly hard on it for about 3 years. The program allows students to receive high school credit for activities they normally wouldn’t get credit for. Activities range from music lessons to participating in a 5K walk/run to even working a part-time job. All of these credits are then put onto a student’s transcript.
Depending on the class year, students are required to earn a certain number of credits before they graduate. Since seniors and juniors will not have the same amount of time as freshmen and sophomores to fulfill these credits, they will not have to earn as many. Seniors must earn 30 points, Juniors 60 and freshmen and sophomores 100.
In a recent student poll I took, 30 out of 50 students were interested in participating in the program, 5 were undecided, and 10 were a definite no. The main reason for no seemed to be a mix of laziness and “not having enough time.”
“It seems like something that could really help us,” said junior Boyd Warwick Clark, “But my only apprehension is whether it is actually going to make a difference or not.”
I feel this is a great opportunity that all students should take advantage of. Usually most colleges and universities place a lot of weight of the decision process on the high school transcript. Having all these different activities on a transcript would look exceptionally impressive. It allows the admissions counselor to see well roundedness right away.
This program can only help a student, not hurt them. The majority of high schools in the New York Area don’t offer this opportunity. If there’s a student out there who doesn’t take advantage of this program, they’re seriously missing.

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