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Academic Rigor: At the Heart of College Access and Success

Low-income and minority students, students with disabilities, and those who are the first in their families to go to college, are often unprepared for and discouraged from taking rigorous academic courses in high school. It is therefore imperative that all young people — especially students traditionally underrepresented in postsecondary education — are prepared to succeed in entry-level college coursework.

Components in a Comprehensive Definition of College Readiness

College readiness is a multi-faceted concept that includes factors both internal and external to the school environment. The model presented here emerges from a review of the literature and includes the skills and knowledge that can be most directly influenced by schools.

Creating a College-Going Culture for English Language Learners

Some English language learners may not know what to expect from the college application process. Others don’t start thinking about college until their junior or senior year. One way to ensure that students are prepared to apply for college is to create a college-going culture in your school and across your district.

Cross-Disciplinary Proficiencies in the American Diploma Project Benchmarks

Students must graduate from high school with not only a firm foundation in mathematics and English, but also with the ability to approach with confidence new and unfamiliar tasks and challenges in college, the workplace and life. Embedded within the American Diploma Project benchmarks are four cross-disciplinary proficiencies — Research and Evidence Gathering, Critical Thinking and Decision Making, Communications and Teamwork, and Media and Technology — that will enable high school graduates to meet these challenges.

A Definition of College Readiness

A list of knowledge, skills, and attributes a student should possess to be ready to succeed in entry-level college courses.

Getting Ready for College: What ELL Students Need to Know

For ELLs, the challenges of going to college and finding the right opportunities can be overwhelming, but ELL teachers can play an important role helping students apply to college and preparing for the application process as well. This month’s Bright Ideas article offers some great ideas for ways that you can support ELL students as they consider their future plans.

Helping Equip Teachers to Answer Students' Questions on College Knowledge

In a Stanford University study, a majority of high school students reported speaking with a teacher at least once about college admissions requirements, but teachers reported receiving very little information to answer their students’ questions. This ECS Policy Brief examines the findings of the study on students’ questions to teachers on “college knowledge,” teachers’ responses to these questions, and policies that would better equip teachers to provide students with accurate information on college policies.

An Introduction to College Access Programs

Most college access programs provide activities such as financial counseling, last dollar scholarships, college visits, career guidance, tutoring, academic counseling, and test preparation courses. These comprehensive college access programs are increasingly viewed as critical partners in the effort to encourage more young people to pursue post-secondary education.

An Introduction to Dual Enrollment

Dual enrollment (DE) allows high school students, including dropouts in some cases, to enroll in postsecondary education courses to earn college credit prior to high school graduation. DE is the most widely used acceleration mechanism and appears in a variety of well-known forms, such as dual enrollment, concurrent enrollment, and Advanced Placement.