New Survey Says Students Aren’t Preparing for College Early Enough

By Sam Coren

metlife survey of the american teacherLast week the first part of the 27th Survey of the American Teacher: Preparing Students for College and Careers was released in an annual series of studies commissioned by MetLife and conducted by Harris Interactive. The survey represents the views of middle and high school teachers, students, and parents, as well as Fortune 1000 executives.

The first section of the report, Part 1: Clearing the Path, examines the importance of being college- and career-ready, what this level of preparation includes, and what it may take to get there. Here are some of the survey’s most interesting findings:

Top Employers Believe Post-Secondary Education is Essential

According to the study 77% of the Fortune 1000 executives who were surveyed agreed that there will be few or no career opportunities for today’s middle and high school students who do not complete some education beyond high school.

More students worry about paying for college than getting into college.

Of the high school and middle school students surveyed 57% were worried being able to pay for college. 31% of the students worry about being able to get into college while 33% who worry about being able to succeed in college. Of the teachers surveyed, they believed that 67% of their students would graduate ready for college without the need for remedial coursework.

Students are not learning about college early enough to plan effectively.

Many people might think that talking to a middle schooler about what they can do to get ready for college is a bit pre-mature. Of the middle schoolers surveyed only 21% of them started getting ready for college.

But the survey found that it is not until grades 11 or 12 that a majority of students have had any of these experiences:

  • Spoke to teachers or school counselors about what classes they should take or other things they should do to be ready for college.
  • Seen examples of real college-level assignments and student work
  • Visited a college or had a college student visit their school to speak with them and other students about college.

If colleges are looking at an entire high school career to decide whether or not they’ll admit a student, then it doesn’t do students much good to not start thinking about college until half their high school education is over.

Download and view the complete survey here.

What are your thoughts on the survey results? Share them with us in the comments.

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