One year after graduating from high school, most members of the Class of 2010 believe that earning a college degree is “definitely” worth it, according to a survey released today by the College Board, a not-for-profit organization. The comprehensive survey on college readiness and affordability, One Year Out, explores how young Americans assess their high school experience and its role in preparing them for life after graduation — be it work or postsecondary education.
“This survey clearly demonstrates that young Americans value education and understand that it takes hard work to be successful in college and beyond,” said College Board President Gaston Caperton. “These candid assessments provide critical firsthand insight into how high schools serve — and in some ways shortchange — their graduates. One Year Out is a call to action, straight from the class of 2010.”
With a year of formative new experiences behind them, the majority of 2010 high school graduates looks back positively on their time in high school, expressing satisfaction both with the collective experience and on a variety of specific measures. Still, while these recent graduates have a generally favorable view of their time in high school, almost all of them admit there is at least one thing they would change or do differently. Particularly, students wish they had taken more math, science and writing-intensive course work in high school to prepare for the rigors of college and the workforce. For example, 44% wish they had taken different courses in high school, particularly more math, science, and writing-intensive course work in high school to prepare for the rigors of college and the workforce. Nearly half (47%) say, with the benefit of hindsight, they wish they had worked harder in high school, and more than a third (37%) say the requirements for graduating high school should be made more difficult.
“Just one year later, 2010 graduates can already see the value of studying hard, taking rigorous courses, and doing well in school — and those who didn’t already regret it,” said Trevor Packer, senior vice president for AP® and College Readiness. “Of all the work we do at the College Board, nothing is more central to our mission than ensuring that students understand the value of education and recognize its potential to transform lives. The class of 2010 clearly believes in the value of a college degree and its importance in preparing them for success in the 21st-century economy.”
Key findings of the survey include:
- College Is Definitely Worth It: One year out of high school graduation, an overwhelming majority (86%) feel that a college degree is worth the time and money — including a large majority not currently enrolled in college (76%).
- High School Is Not Enough: An overwhelming majority (90%) agree with the statement: “In today’s world, high school is not enough, and nearly everybody needs to complete some kind of education or training after high school.”
- College Is Essential for Career Success: Even in the current economy, 66% say they are very (22%) or somewhat (44%) optimistic that people in their generation will have good opportunities for jobs and careers, while 33% say they are worried about this. Seven in 10 members of the class of 2010 say that a college degree will help them a lot in fulfilling their career aspirations, and another 18% say a degree will help somewhat
- Cost Is a Barrier: Cost was the biggest challenge faced in transition to college. Five in 9 students who attended college say that affording it was very or pretty challenging. Of those who did not attend college, 56% said affordability was a key factor.
- College More Challenging Than Expected: A majority (54%) report that their college courses were more difficult than expected. And 24% say they were required to take noncredit remedial or developmental courses by their college, including 37% of those who went to a two-year college; 16% report they did not complete the full year of their college program.
- Rigorous Course Work — More Math, Science, Writing: Students wish they had taken more math, science, and writing-intensive course work in high school.
- Life Skills Are Also Important: Students wish their high schools had given more practical career readiness and more basic preparation for how to engage in a college environment — including how to manage personal finances.
The full article is located on the College Board’s website, which is located here.