College, the core failure: 159,490 minutes remaining

Emma Starkey, Journalism 1 Writer

March 28, 2023. Having been torn away from the unfamiliar comforts of my hotel room bed, I, alongside my parents, braved the cold air to reach a pristine white concrete and glass building of Iowa University’s Pomerantz Center, where a group of college students checked each visitor record.

“Are you a junior, or a senior?” one asked.

“Sophomore,” I hesitantly replied.

I was mildly sleep deprived then, but even to me, the surprise on his face was evident. He would not be the only one, either: whenever I would complain to someone about that two day college tour, more often than not I would be met with confused stares.

“But you’re a sophomore!”

Still, a second student gave me the quick information needed on how to get to the actual presentation. Next thing I knew, I was back into the cold, walking towards the Old Capitol building of Iowa City. I stepped across its threshold, and up past the old, creaking stairs. Finding a seat on uncomfortably hard wood chairs, the minutes moved by like molasses. The admissions counselor droned on, yet another spiel that I struggled to remain attentive to, but one thing stuck out to me: the high school class requirements.

The ones we are not told are needed.

Yet, in a room full of juniors, who have very little time to get these credits in, and seniors, who are stuck with the transcript they had built over four years, I could not help but wonder: how many people are caught off-guard, too late.

Next thing I knew, I started digging. Whether this was spurred on by yet another college-anxiety induced haze, or because I was just genuinely curious, I took a leap into the rabbit hole of the standard minimum requirements of most colleges out of state.

As a general rule, the Core 40 diploma does meet the minimum requirements (except for mathematics, but Munster sort of covers it by requiring a math course/reasoning course each year). The problem here is that colleges expect you to do more, and that level can vary depending on the college. The extent of which you might not be aware of in time, unless you start looking early.

Yet we find ourselves without an adequate support structure to help us prepare. Is this meant to be something we do on our own? Are we supposed to be so self-sufficient that we have to have a plan for high school classes from the start of freshman year? How is that fair, when so many of us still do not know who we want to be?

I’ll leave this with one final metaphor: if we are Mustangs, then we are mustangs that have lost our legs, waiting unknowingly for the wolves of college admission experts to arrive.