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Half of U.S. high school students say they feel prepared for college, according to new survey

Sarah Favot | August 4, 2017

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Half of high school students surveyed nationwide say they feel academically prepared for college, a new survey reports.

YouthTruth, a national San Francisco-based nonprofit organization, surveyed 55,000 high school students between September 2015 and December 2016 in 21 states through anonymous online surveys about school climate and culture. It released Tuesday an analysis of the students’ responses related to college preparedness.

The results seem to jive with how many students in Los Angeles are actually meeting the requirements to get into California’s public universities. LA School Report revealed that for the Class of 2016, just 47 percent met the minimum criteria for eligibility for the UC and CSU systems — at least a C in a set of college prep classes known as A-G courses. State Department of Education data shows LA Unified students are meeting the requirements at a rate higher than the state average.

“Students’ perceptions are their reality, so it’s important to understand how prepared students are feeling for life after high school,” YouthTruth Executive Director Jen Vorse Wilka said in a news release. “In early 2016 we released findings about students’ perceptions of college and career readiness, and students’ perceptions of their own readiness have not shifted dramatically since then. This data shows us that there is still much work to be done to help prepare students for college and career.”

YouthTruth released four overall findings from its analysis of the student surveys:

— Most students want to go to college

84 percent of students responded they want to go to college, but just 68 percent said they expected to attend a two-year or four-year college.

— Only 1 in 2 students feel academically prepared for college, and whites felt the least prepared.

The results showed differences among students of different ethnicities: 56 percent of Asians said they felt prepared, 53 percent of African-Americans, 52 percent of Latinos, and 50 percent of white students.

— Students find support services helpful, but most aren’t using them.

The survey found the least accessed service is counseling about how to pay for college.

— Feelings of readiness varied widely across schools

Of the 114 schools examined, at the highest-rated school, 78 percent of students said they were prepared for college. At the lowest-rated school, 11 percent of students said they were prepared for college.

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