Are students prepared for college?

According to, results from a multi-year college and career readiness survey of 165,000 high school students conducted by YouthTruth, a San Francisco-based nonprofit, found that 45 percent of students feel positive about their college and career readiness. 

The numbers reveal a large gap in America’s education system: it shows that, a high school diploma doesn’t guarantee that students are prepared for college courses.  Colleges and universities across the country are being forced to spend time and money to solve the disconnect between students feeling unprepared for college-level work, but still wanting to attend. Higher education administrators must determine who’s not ready for college and try to get those students up to speed as quickly as possible, or risk losing them altogether.

Data also show that even students who pass state required high school testing are still showing up to college unprepared.  It’s extremely confusing how we can have the rising cost and low success rate of higher education nationwide. With students passing state tests that say they’re good enough to graduate from high school but colleges consider them unprepared to do the higher-level work.

Many professionals in the education field claim that these exams, which are administered by many states, are not designed to assess college readiness, but rather some more basic level of proficiency. So in reality, we are not preparing our students for further education, we are simply testing their level of proficiency in their current academic standing.  

Some experts are now hopeful that high schools will raise standards enough to graduate students who are college-ready. Forty-four states have now adopted the Common Core education standards.  This initiative could streamline what students learn in high school, and for the tests they take to prove it, while preparing them for what’s to come next at the college level. The Common Core State Standards Initiative is an educational initiative from 2010 that details what K–12 students throughout the United States should know in a variety of subject areas, including English, language arts and mathematics at the conclusion of each grade. This is sponsored by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers and seeks to have consistent educational standards across the United States as well as ensure that students graduating from high school are well prepared to enter courses at two- or four-year college programs or to enter the workforce.

Previously, workforce skills found that less than half of students report feeling they've gained the critical skills needed to transition to the workforce. When talking about college resources, students are seeking additional help in preparing for their careers, with 51 percent indicating they would like more internships and professional experiences. 

Although the majority of colleges offer career services, fewer than half of college students take advantage of them. Those students who do use these services overwhelmingly find them helpful.  There is a big gap between student and employer perception of preparedness, especially when it comes to professionalism and work ethic. Most notably, 77 percent of students felt confident about their professionalism and work ethic. Conversely, the National Association of Colleges and Employers, NACE, Job Outlook study recently surveyed employers and found only 43 percent felt recent college graduates were proficient in these areas.

Written by: Ashley Moore


Created by: Ashley Moore

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