Academic redshirting could give disadvantaged students more time to prepare for the rigors of selective colleges, writes Raynard Kingston, president of Grinnell College, in the Baltimore Sun, once his hometown paper.
Selective colleges and universities could fund prep-school programs to give promising students from low-performing high schools a 13th year, Kingston suggests. Or colleges could start their own college-prep academies for disadvantaged students. Finally, there’s the community college model.
Collaborations between four-year institutions and community colleges, such as the Frances Perkins Program at Mount Holyoke College and the efforts of the Des Moines Area Community College, already help students earn credits toward their bachelor’s degree. A redshirt partnership would not count toward college but would offer students an intensive year to overcome gaps in knowledge and skills, preparing them for success at a four-year institution.
To make academic redshirting work on a nationwide scale, advocates will have to decide how to identify the most promising students and find ways to support redshirts once they move on to four-year institutions, Kingston writes.