The United States used to lead the world in adult postsecondary attainment, but has gradually slipped to 12th.
To help the U.S. regain its former position as a world leader in adult postsecondary attainment rates, many states have set aggressive postsecondary completion or attainment goals over the past several years. To achieve these goals, states are adding a variety of ingredients into the recipe to get more youth and adults into and through postsecondary programs. But notably absent from the “cookbook” in most states are dedicated efforts to improve secondary students’ access to high-quality college counseling. A December, 2014 report
from the Education Commission of the States (ECS) identifies state approaches that may not reap the hoped-for gains in college-going and highlights recent research pointing to new, successful approaches to increase college-going rates – and a few states implementing promising efforts.
Most community colleges offer a wide array of programs. Yet, colleges typically provide little guidance to help new students choose a program of study and develop a plan for completing it. While career services and advising are provided to students who seek them out, studies suggest that those who need such services the most are the least likely to take advantage of them.
Youth involved with the justice system face significant challenges.
As community college administrators and faculty know all too well, getting through college takes more than academic preparation. Students often face barriers unrelated to academic skills that may prevent them from completing college. Some of these barriers are obvious and concrete – such as transportation or childcare difficulties. Others are more subtle: students may find the college bureaucracy bewildering, they may have poor time-management skills, or have no sense of when and how to seek help.