Involving Families in High School and College Expectations

Jennifer Dounay [PDF]:

he numbers are astonishing and unfortunately all too familiar – while four in five high school students expect to complete a college degree, fewer than a third will actually emerge from the high-school-to-college pipeline with a baccalaureate six years after high school graduation. A growing number of parents see a college degree as absolutely necessary for their child’s success, and more students believe that they will attain this goal. But the sad fact is that only one in three will complete a college degree. This policy brief examines the troubling gap between educational aspirations, what students (and parents) need to do to achieve those expectations, and what states are doing to better communicate to students and parents the importance of being academically prepared for college and the steps to take to achieve that level of preparation.
Students (and their parents) expect they’ll finish high school and go to college
Most high school students today (and their parents) believe they should – and will – graduate from high school and complete some form of postsecondary education. As the graph below makes clear, this expectation has been rising since 1980 for every racial and socioeconomic group.