Based on the website of the Commission on Higher Education, or CHED, high school graduates before the K to 12 curriculum have until the school year 2017-2018 to enroll in order to graduate under the old curriculum.
Those who enroll after this period will be part of the new curriculum and will need to undergo bridging programs which can be found in the 12th grade or the new senior high school level.
High school graduates before K to 12
Since the CHED does not plan to extend the deadline anymore, school year 2017-2018 is the last year freshmen can be admitted into college to graduate under the old curriculum.
If you enroll in the school year 2018-2019, you will be considered part of the new college program. Under this case, they will need to take bridging programs because they did not go through the K to 12 system.
Since some of the bridging program subjects have pre-requisites, it can extend their college stay by as much as one year.
To save time and money, high school students who were not required to attend grade 11 and 12 are highly advised to enroll now.
Currently enrolled college students before K to 12
For the students who are already enrolled in college, they need to continue their education because the old curriculum will be phased out by school year 2020-2021.
In addition to this, if they want to shift courses, now is the time to do it because they will still be under the old system.
Shifting now also means maximizing the number of subjects that get credited in the new course because both courses will still under the old curriculum.
Old college students before K to 12 who plan to return in 2018-2019 or later
College students who stopped will need to return this year, school year 2017-2018, in order still be part of their current curriculum.
Those who plan to return in the school year 2018-2019 and after will be forced into the new curriculum and required to take bridging programs.
The best-case scenario in this situation is that some of their old subjects may be credited, as long as the descriptions and coverages match those in the new curriculum. The worst case is that nothing will be credited, requiring returning students to take bridging programs in addition to an entirely new 4-year course.
With quite a bit of time and money already invested, it would be best for students with college units to return now so they don't extend their stay in college.
The K to 12 system has given rise to an all-or-nothing situation for high school students under the old curriculum. And the message is the same for high school graduates or college students – enroll in school year 2017-2018.
Since the CHED will not extend this deadline, I strongly suggest that they enroll before this school year is over. There is no going around it if they want to graduate as soon as possible. Delaying enrolment will mean extending one’s stay in school and adding more expenses in the process.
For people without the means, consider borrowing money from family and friends. Since diploma holders supposedly earn more than those with lesser degrees or just college units, they should be able to pay them back after graduation.
Those without access to people able to lend money can consider being a working student. Apart from providing funding, this option may have the added benefit of crediting actual work into the on-the-job-training or practicum subject.
While this is more difficult than being a full-time student, it can be done because thousands of students are already doing this. Try to keep in mind that the difficulty is temporary and once done, will never be a bother again.
Another more radical option is transferring to a less expensive school. While some people dread the idea of leaving their current, expensive, and prestigious schools, graduating from a lesser school is still a better option to not graduating at all. This is because companies often prioritize a degree holder from a lesser school over a non-degree holder from a prestigious one.
In addition to scholarships provided by schools themselves, the CHED offers financial assistance through their Student Financial Assistance Program.
If it is not possible for students to take a full load right now, it is best to talk to one’s school about filing a leave of absence. This way, students will still be enrolled but considered on vacation. Just remember to make sure that you graduate by the school year 2020-2021, the last year of the old curriculum.
Please note that schools are expected to handle this transition differently. While the CHED has already sent out the directive, some schools may provide additional alternatives to accommodate students under the old curriculum.
Given this, I strongly suggest checking with them directly instead of relying on hearsay or the internet because these two sources cannot be expected to have specific information on a school.
College degrees are not yours alone
Before parting, I would like to leave you with some food for thought...
While it is your name on the diploma after graduation, you need to understand that it isn't for your benefit alone. Many others will benefit from your graduation.
Your future family will rely on it when it is time for you to get married. Getting a degree means that it may be comparatively easier to put food on the table and send your kids to school.
Your parents will also rely on that degree when they retire and are out of work. Apart from food, the promotion you get can come with a health card to cover their age-related medical expenses.
Friends who are in need of help may come to rely on your degree, not just in financial matters, but in other areas that require expertise gained from school and work. You may be able to advise friends on how to manage their money if you earned a banking and finance degree. You can teach co-workers how to sell products if you completed a marketing course. You may even offer some suggestions to close family members if you graduated with a psychology degree.
So, if you need another good reason to go back to school, think about how everyone besides yourself will benefit from that little piece of paper.
Good luck and I hope to hear you graduate soon!