It is no secret that college graduates earn more than those with only a high school diploma. Back in 2004, 69% of all high school seniors expected to attend college and acquire at least a bachelor’s degree.
Of the remaining students, 18% expected to complete some form of secondary education. In 1972, 49% of high school graduates enrolled in college, and by 2005, that percentage had increased to 69%.
This shows the importance that students are placing on higher education and making better salaries in their work life. However, students often are ill prepared for college when they arrive. Almost 1/3 of incoming freshmen at 4-year colleges fall into the remediation class. In 2-year institutions, the rate is as high as 60%.
Improper Preparation and Its Results
College students are taking longer to get degrees and the number of graduates is stagnated. Enrollment in some form of higher education is about 83% of all high school graduates, but the number of students who actually complete and receive a degree is only 52%. Students in 4-year institutions who finish in that time frame only amount to 34% of the total, and well over 60% take 8-1/2 years just to get their B.A.
One estimate suggests that only 34% of all high school graduates are ready for college, which matches the number who finish in four years. To be a part of this group, high school students must graduate with a standard diploma, complete the minimum course requirements, and be able to read at or above the basic level as determined by the National Assessment of Education Progress.
Where Does the Responsibility Lie?
While the numbers of high school students that are fully prepared for college are not as high as they could be, the lack of any consistent policy or plan by educators and policy makers is an area of major concern.
We do not have a clear understanding of why the system doesn’t work. From the policy makers point of view, is it possible for federal and state lawmakers to dictate how prepared our students are for college when they leave high school?
As far as the government having the ability to make high school students better prepared, history has shown that it isn’t so. The best that parents can do to prepare their high school age children is to work with them and recognize where their problems and weaknesses are.
Providing as much constructive support as possible continues to be the best way to help the high school student. Every parent is responsible even if they only have limited time to help. Maximizing all available resources and working closely with your student is a positive approach to take early in the high school years.