New York, NY — One year after graduating from high school, most members of the Class of 2010 believe that earning a college degree is “definitely” worth it, according to a survey released today by the College Board, a not-for-profit organization. The comprehensive survey on college readiness and affordability, One Year Out, explores how young Americans assess their high school experience and its role in preparing them for life after graduation — be it work or postsecondary education.
“This survey clearly demonstrates that young Americans value education and understand that it takes hard work to be successful in college and beyond,” said College Board President Gaston Caperton. “These candid assessments provide critical firsthand insight into how high schools serve — and in some ways shortchange — their graduates. One Year Out is a call to action, straight from the class of 2010.”
With a year of formative new experiences behind them, the majority of 2010 high school graduates looks back positively on their time in high school, expressing satisfaction both with the collective experience and on a variety of specific measures. Still, while these recent graduates have a generally favorable view of their time in high school, almost all of them admit there is at least one thing they would change or do differently. Particularly, students wish they had taken more math, science and writing-intensive course work in high school to prepare for the rigors of college and the workforce. For example, 44% wish they had taken different courses in high school, particularly more math, science, and writing-intensive course work in high school to prepare for the rigors of college and the workforce. Nearly half (47%) say, with the benefit of hindsight, they wish they had worked harder in high school, and more than a third (37%) say the requirements for graduating high school should be made more difficult.
“Just one year later, 2010 graduates can already see the value of studying hard, taking rigorous courses, and doing well in school — and those who didn’t already regret it,” said Trevor Packer, senior vice president for AP® and College Readiness. “Of all the work we do at the College Board, nothing is more central to our mission than ensuring that students understand the value of education and recognize its potential to transform lives. The class of 2010 clearly believes in the value of a college degree and its importance in preparing them for success in the 21st-century economy.”
Key findings of the survey include:
- College Is Definitely Worth It: One year out of high school graduation, an overwhelming majority (86%) feel that a college degree is worth the time and money — including a large majority not currently enrolled in college (76%).
- High School Is Not Enough: An overwhelming majority (90%) agree with the statement: “In today's world, high school is not enough, and nearly everybody needs to complete some kind of education or training after high school.”
- College Is Essential for Career Success: Even in the current economy, 66% say they are very (22%) or somewhat (44%) optimistic that people in their generation will have good opportunities for jobs and careers, while 33% say they are worried about this. Seven in 10 members of the class of 2010 say that a college degree will help them a lot in fulfilling their career aspirations, and another 18% say a degree will help somewhat
- Cost Is a Barrier: Cost was the biggest challenge faced in transition to college. Five in 9 students who attended college say that affording it was very or pretty challenging. Of those who did not attend college, 56% said affordability was a key factor.
- College More Challenging Than Expected: A majority (54%) report that their college courses were more difficult than expected. And 24% say they were required to take noncredit remedial or developmental courses by their college, including 37% of those who went to a two-year college; 16% report they did not complete the full year of their college program.
- Rigorous Course Work — More Math, Science, Writing: Students wish they had taken more math, science, and writing-intensive course work in high school.
- Life Skills Are Also Important: Students wish their high schools had given more practical career readiness and more basic preparation for how to engage in a college environment — including how to manage personal finances.
One Year Out was conducted by Hart Research Associates on behalf of the College Board. The survey involved a nationally representative sample of 1,507 respondents, all of whom graduated from high school in 2010. To reach out broadly to this highly mobile population, Hart Research employed multiple methodologies, including telephone interviewing on both landline and cell phones as well as online interviewing. All respondents completed the survey (either by telephone interview or online) from July 29, 2011, to August 3, 2011. A total of 775 respondents were interviewed by telephone, and 732 completed interviews online. In the combined final sample, 43% of respondents reported that they had enrolled in a four-year college after graduating from high school, 25% reported that they had enrolled in a two-year college, 6% said that they enrolled in a trade school or a specific training program, and the remaining 26% said that they did not enroll in any kind of school after graduating from high school. Among respondents who went to a four-year college, 65% report going on to a public college whereas 33% say they went on to attend a private college. The racial and ethnic profile of the sample is diverse and representative of 2010 high school graduates nationally: 59% call themselves white, 18% describe themselves as Hispanic, 16% as African American, 4% as Asian, and 3% as some other racial or ethnic classification.
About the College Board
The College Board is a mission-driven not-for-profit organization that connect students to college success and opportunity. Founded in 1900, the College Board was created to expand access to higher education. Today, the membership association is made up of more than 5,900 of the world's leading educational institutions and is dedicated to promoting excellence and equity in education. Each year, the College Board helps more than seven million students prepare for a successful transition to college through programs and services in college readiness and college success — including the SAT® and the Advanced Placement Program®. The organization also serves the education community through research and advocacy on behalf of students, educators and schools. For further information, visit www.collegeboard.org.
Peter Kauffmann The College Board 212-713-8052 firstname.lastname@example.org