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Creating a Culture of College Attendance.

ERIC Descriptors: College Attendance; Academic Aspiration; College Preparation; College Readiness; Middle School Students; High School Students; Educational Counseling; Metacognition; School Culture; Social Support Groups; Financial Support

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College attendance is a generally accepted goal of most students and families. A study by the US Department of Education found that more than 80% of students indicate that they plan on obtaining a college degree (2002). Other studies found that these aspirations were consistent regardless of race, social class, and gender or achievement level. Many factors account for these aspirations: (1) Changes in the US economy from one based on industry to one focused on service, information and technology increased the importance of a college degree; (2) A significant earnings gap between high school graduates and those with a college degree continues to grow; (3) Societal norms have also grown to expect post-secondary training or college; and (4) Federal and state programs designed to encourage college attendance, provide financial support for students. While families want their children to attend college, not all families have the same capacity to successfully plan for college. High schools and their feeder middle schools have emerged as critical conduits of information for both students and families. The components of a comprehensive college readiness program are clear. ACT (2005) identified several practices that help prepare students for college. Others suggest that college readiness is more than selecting the right courses and identifying financial support. David Conley in a report prepared for the Gates Foundation suggests that a range of cognitive and metacognitive skills are perhaps more important than specific content knowledge. Such skills "include analysis, interpretation, precision and accuracy, problem solving, and reasoning" (Conley, 2007). And supportive and encouraging relationships with adults in both high school and middle school are critical. (Contains 8 online resources.)

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Author:Williamson, Ronald
Publication:ERIC: Reports
Date:Nov 1, 2010
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