Cleveland Connects, a project of our partner station WCPN and others, says Northeast Ohio needs to increase the number of resident with some kind of postsecondary credential (a clunky way of saying a bachelor’s or associate’s degree or a vocational certificate).
How will that happen? Cleveland Connects says it will take “rais[ing] the expectations of our young people and send[ing] them clear, consistent messages about educational achievement after high school graduation.”
The federal What Works Clearinghouse suggests five more concrete steps high schools can take to help more students enroll in college:
- Offer courses that prepare students for college-level work, and make sure they know they need to take those courses if they want to go to college.
- Test students throughout high school so they know how prepared — or unprepared — they are for college.
- Surround students with adults and peers who “build and support their college-going aspirations.”
- Help students in completing critical steps for college entry, like filling out college applications.
- Make sure families know that financial aid is available, and help students apply for it.
But researchers and educators say the trick is in how exactly schools do those things and also that they do them in a coordinated way.
And the authors of a widely cited federal study of the factors that influence high school students entering and finishing college say:
Postsecondary institutions have got to be active players and reinforcers at the secondary school level—particularly in partnership with schools that are not providing or inspiring students—with opportunity to learn at those ratcheted-up levels of content. Pep talks, family visits, recruitment tours, and guidance in filling out application and financial aid forms are not enough.
If you’re in Northeast Ohio, you can attend Monday’s Cleveland Connects event in person at the Idea Center at PlayhouseSquare. Or watch the livestream of the entire event online. More information here.