…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:
1) 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%).
2) 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 an education or training after high school.”
3) 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
4) 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 reason.
5) 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 non-credit 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.
6) Rigorous Course Work — More Math, Science, Writing: Students wish they had taken more math, science, and writing-intensive course work in high school.
7) 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.