Preparing students for college: What high schools are doing and how their actions influence ninth graders’ college attitudes, aspirations and plans
Perhaps never before in our nation’s history has helping Americans successfully transition into and complete postsecondary credentials been more important. Increasing Americans’ educational attainment is critical for our country’s economic competitiveness. The United States is now 16th out of 36 developed countries in the percentage of workers age 25 through 34 who hold a postsecondary credential.1 Improving postsecondary educational attainment is also essential for helping citizens individually. Compared to Americans with high school diplomas, Americans with bachelor’s or advanced college degrees are half as likely to be unemployed and earn 66 percent more in lifetime earnings.2 In recent years, both the Obama administration and prominent foundations like the Lumina Foundation and Gates Foundation have recognized the importance of improving college degree attainment rates, both for the nation and for individuals’ well-being, and have set goals to increase the proportion of Americans with postsecondary credentials.3 To help meet these objectives, it is essential that we facilitate students’ transition from high school to postsecondary education.