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ERIC Number: EJ930688
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Jun-4
Pages: N/A
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1938-5978
The High School to College Transition: Minding the Gap
Hirsch, Deborah
New England Journal of Higher Education, Jun 2010
The value of a college degree is well documented. College graduates earn at least 60% more than high school graduates. Beyond the economic value, college graduates show higher rates of civic participation, engage in volunteer work and even have a much higher likelihood of being "happy." Students who drop out without attaining a college degree will forgo significant lifetime earnings and are likely to be saddled with debt that may impact their ability to buy a car, a house or even return to finish their education at a later date. And the consequences for failing are not just for the students who leave. The economy, and many argue the democracy, depends on maintaining and building an educated workforce and citizenry. High school students may have a pretty good understanding of what they need to do to get into college, and of the importance of attending college for career and financial success, but they have an undeveloped and even unrealistic understanding of what it takes to successfully transition, persist and graduate from college. Students bring with them the habits and attitudes that may have been "good enough" to get by in high school but will not support their success in college where "passing" is not enough to maintain sufficient academic progress toward a degree. Too often students exert the minimal effort that they perceive will be good enough to pass the course. They seem more focused on getting through the course rather than learning the content and skills which can inform their work and lives. This is especially true when they don't readily see the point of what they are learning--typically in their general education and developmental courses which they view as too much like high school. Increasing student readiness for college is important. This article presents a few systemic models for what a program or a college that is focused on student success might look like. Too often college access and success are viewed separately with secondary schools shouldering the responsibility for college enrollment and colleges being accountable for student persistence. The result is typically finger-pointing and blame: High school folks say that colleges need to do a better job of graduating their students while those who work at colleges say that their students would succeed if only high schools did a better job preparing them. The truth is the goal of raising college attainment levels can never be achieved unless people work across sectors to close the gap between high school and college preparation and performance to ensure that students successfully transition and graduate from college.
New England Board of Higher Education. 45 Temple Place, Boston, MA 02111. Tel: 617-357-9620; Fax: 617-338-1577; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: High Schools; Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: New York