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Mercersburg: Not a College Prep School

September 30, 2022 at 4:00:00 PM

Cricket Tatone '24

Here at Mercersburg, we pride ourselves on being a “college-preparatory” school. However, I strongly disagree with the attitude that Mercersburg prepares students for higher education. One issue with claiming that we are a “college prep” school is overscheduling students. On an average day, students start classes at 8:50. While I think that 8:50 is a great time to start the day, with the amount of assignments and other tasks spilled on students each day, this is hardly generous. With four rotations in a school day, and a school meeting and advisory once a week, students have no breathing room. After the scheduled class day, we have to rush off to two hours of PGA, and then many students have various nighttime commitments. Commitments such as proctor duty, News, and help center duties take up almost two and a half hours at night.

With a jam-packed schedule, it’s very difficult to exercise good time management and healthy habits. Rather, the lack of time in the day can induce unhealthy habits, such as skipping meals for the sake of time, sacrificing sleep, and constantly being stressed out of your mind about the next required appointment. This begs the question of whether Mercersburg is truly a college-preparatory environment. Multiple teachers have told me, “You’re going to get to college and have no idea what to do with all of your free time.” When students are constantly overwhelmed by their commitments, it becomes less about managing time in a healthy manner and more about surviving each day.

Another reason why I don’t consider Mercersburg a college-prep school is because of its shift away from Advanced Placement courses. Although unrelated to the overscheduling issue, the abandonment of AP courses places students one step further from being “ready for college.” Many colleges accept AP test scores as college credit, and this can help students save time by skipping general education classes in college. Since teachers are no longer required to help us prepare for the AP exams, students must self-study, which becomes another time commitment. Meanwhile, the “Advanced Studies” classes maintain the same amount of homework as the former APs. In conclusion, besides the fact that we live on campus, I don’t think that Mercersburg can be so widely regarded as a “college prep” school.

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