Too many parents want their kids to gain entry into a Science High School because of the name and the prestige without really knowing what it entails. Many Science High School alums will tell you that their first few weeks were a rude awakening to the realities of the environment and the culture. Before you set a Science High School as your goal, you’d better know what you’re signing up for.
A Demanding Curriculum
Most people know that the Science High School curriculum is faster and harder than that of the usual secondary institution. Few, however, know by just how much. Though the lessons are in sync for most of freshman year, Science High School students are taking up much higher levels of math and the sciences by sophomore year. By graduation, students will have taken collegiate level math, chemistry, biology and physics.
It goes without saying that a Science High School is for neither the faint of heart or the weak of study schedule. Compared to the typical high school timetable, Science High Schools cover new lessons at breakneck speed, and students have no choice but to keep up. Teachers and administrators are likelier to expel students who don’t perform than to change the lesson plans for being too fast.
High-Stress High Schools
Stress is an unfortunate fact of life at any Science High School. In addition to the faster pace of the lessons, pressure from parents, peers and the students themselves is a very real factor. Common student complaints include not enough time to sleep and having to drop extracurricular activities because of the time requirement of academics.
The workload in most Science High Schools are seasonal. The school year is divided into quarters, and schedules are least demanding at the beginning of each quarter. It then gets increasingly busier as exams approach, with the busiest time being the week immediately before quarterly exams. During this time, aptly labeled ‘Hell Week,’ requirements and tests tend to pile up on students.
Science, Science and More Science
It probably goes without saying that Science High Schools give greater focus to math and the sciences than the typical secondary institution. This is very apparent in the curriculum and annual calendar of any Science High School.
Science High Schools usually require one form of scientific research or another. For some campuses, the requirement is just to teach students how to conduct researches properly. In other campuses like the main one in Diliman, a full scientific research paper is a major requirement for graduation. These same research projects are submitted to competitions both local and international.
Every year, Science High School campuses celebrate various science-related events like National Science and Technology Week (NSTW) and Youth, Math, Science and Technology (YMSAT) Week. Science fairs are also considered major events in the school calendar, and class schedules are usually built around those events.
Few other institutions offer the same kind of environment and training that Science High Schools do, so you’re not likely to see these same conditions elsewhere. It’s far from easy, and many students fall by the wayside every year. Administrators, teachers and alums alike all advise that new students should make the decision to enroll themselves. It’s a choice that shouldn’t be taken lightly