One of the many outcomes of the pandemic has been a decrease in the direct from high school enrollment in college. According to the National Student Clearinghouse (NSC), 2020 saw an overall 6.8% drop in enrollment and an 11.4% drop for students of color and those experience sing poverty. The newest data coming out from NSC for 2021 shows the trend continuing. After a year where many students were isolated and didn’t get the usual opportunities such as internships, career days and college visits, it is important to create a broad exposure plan of virtual and in-person opportunities to ensure that every young person has access to college and career readiness and exploration. All pathways should be explored, providing a balance to both college and career opportunities to reach the diversity of students schools and districts serve. To be most successful, district college and career readiness plans should include a strong family engagement component to help ensure all students are reached and receive the support and encouragement they need to navigate their next steps.
Family Engagement“Family engagement drives almost all student behaviors. Families have to be involved and engaged, not just informed.” — Marie Bigham, ACCEPT
Choice-based college and career outcomes“We are not thinking about college and career readiness any differently, we are thinking about it with the layer of COVID and how to triage in order to best achieve choice-based outcomes for all students.” –Donald Kamentz, ContigoEd
- All students and all pathways get equal access to and support from college and career counselors
- Families are partners, included in conversation, decision making for their student and sharing of options
- Counselor schedules are flexible, so they can meet with students or families during non-traditional hours
- Schools look critically at postsecondary counseling offerings to identify potential barriers to families – childcare, transportation, languages available, meeting times. Do the adults raising the students feel welcome?