Background Information on Outcomes of High Schools

While there is little argument that college preparation in high school is imperative​, there is debate ​among scholars ​as to what extent high schools should prepare students for college and careers. In order to better understand this, we need to recognize current statistics associated with College and Career Outcomes of High Schools. Here is some information by YouthTruth that we should keep in mind.

As you can see, in the survey below, most high school students feel unprepared for college despite wanting to go. Additionally, students feel even more unprepared for careers.

So what can high schools do to change these numbers? In our next blog we will discuss programs that have been put in place to make a difference.

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College and Career Outcomes of High Schools

During the month of January, we will focus on College and Career Outcomes of High Schools, which will be one of the topics further discussed during the first annual World Future Forum.

Youth Truth Student Survey found that only 45 percent of students feel positively about their college and career readiness.

The question is: to what extent can high schools prepare students for college and career? This topic examines the different perspectives on college and career preparedness in ​high schools. ​Ar​e current high school programs​ effective? We will discuss employment rates, dropout and graduation statistics, outcome variations between different types of schools, and programs that are working and those that are not. Stay tuned to find out.

Join us at World Future Forum for more research findings and best practices on College and Career Outcomes of High Schools!

High School Plans for College Readiness

This month, we have presented how schools can help students prepare for college. We also provided a few tips on how students can prepare academically, socially, and financially. But what exact measures can students take especially during high school?

We understand that all of the information can feel a bit overwhelming. Do not worry! Here is a simple four-year checklist that you can share with all high schools students from freshmen to seniors:

In addition, we recommend introducing your students to KnowHow2Go for advice, college success stories, campus tours, and a college quiz!

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Academic, Social, and Financial Preparation

Academically preparing for college can put your students ahead of the game; however, it is important that they also understand how to prepare socially and financially as well. If a student is prepared academically, socially and financially, their college career will be much more manageable as all these factors work hand-in-hand. Here are a few tips for students. Click on the links (blue text) for helpful resources.

Students can academically prepare by learning how to take notes, improving their time management skills, getting organized and preparing to read very often. Many professors will provide an abundance of information in class or in readings so it can be overwhelming for unprepared students.

College is a very different social environment and this can be very stressful for some students, especially first-generation college students. The best way for students to prepare is by learning to work well with others, improving their communications (soft) skills and participating in class, and extracurricular activities. College will call for many group assignments, which can be a nightmare if students cannot adapt to this.

Preparing financially is very important, because if a student is not prepared it can cause a lot of stress. Read our Avoiding Student Debt blog post for tips on financially preparing before college.

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College Readiness Initiatives

In this blog, we have discussed ways in which teachers can “nudge” students to further their education after high school; but how are we academically preparing students to take on college? Here are some examples on how to aim for college readiness.

Some high schools have concentrated their efforts in providing help for college entrance exams. With assistance from the University of Richmond, a Richmond, Virginia high school teacher founded The College Readiness Initiative. This initiative provides free online tests and study materials for the SAT test, as well as the SOL (Standards of Learning) or Virginia state test. Check out The College Readiness Initiative at

The Colorado Department of Education has worked towards college readiness by implementing the ICAP, Individual Career and Academic Plan. This program guides students into learning more about themselves and deciding on their post-high school plan. This is a great method for students to know or have a general idea of what major they would like to pursue. To learn more and view the ICAP Toolkit, visit

Other options include providing college courses during high school, assigning group work/projects, teaching time management skills, and assigning research papers. What is your high school doing to academically prepare students for college? Share with us on the Twitter poll found here

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Academic Preparation for College Readiness

As we prepare to end the year 2018, we will focus on different ways that students, especially high school students, and schools can prepare for college readiness. Some of the topics we will discuss are college readiness initiatives for schools and academic, social and financial preparation for students.

It is no doubt that college pays off. College enrollment rates have increased a significant 28 percent between 2000 and 2016 and they are projected to continue increasing as stated by The National Center for Education Statistics. The Pew Research Center provides the following graph comparing earnings  of young adults with no college, some college and a college degree. To read more, visit

The U.S. Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid website has provided checklists for Elementary School, Middle School, High School, and adult students interested in preparing for college. Find these useful checklists here.

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STEM Schools

As stated by the Smithsonian Science and Education Center, “STEM-related jobs grew at three times the rate of non-STEM jobs between 2000 and 2010.”

Most schools that have transitioned to Next Generation High Schools are focusing on STEM. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. As mentioned above, the innovative world we now live in calls for more and more STEM professionals daily. STEM teaching is very hands-on and calls for Project-Based Learning (as mentioned in our blog post on Innovation in the Classroom). Therefore, a large amount of students enjoy learning STEM and having a active role in their own education, not just the students who want to pursue STEM careers.

To read more interesting information on STEM Education provided by the Smithsonian Science and Education Center, click here. lists 12 ways to start teaching STEM in your school below:

12 Ways to Start Teaching STEM in Your School

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#GivingTuesday 2018

Over the last seven years, #GivingTuesday has gained momentum. Celebrated on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday is a global day of giving. It is a movement that promotes giving either by donating money, volunteering, or offering expertise and information as an act of kindness. Social media and other platforms drive #GivingTuesday and help bring many people and partners together such as nonprofits,  organizations, businesses and individuals.

The World Future Forum organization, Future Institute, has provided multiple ways you can be part of #GivingTuesday. You can volunteer as a mentor for a college student, give an internship or job opportunity, or sponsor a student with a scholarship. But why help Future Institute? The students that Future Institute serves are less likely to attend college and more likely to dropout within their first year of college. These students belong to the following demographics.

To find out more on supporting Future Institute during this time of charity, please visit

For more information on #GivingTuesday or find other ways you can be part of the movement, visit

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Customized Curriculum

As you might already know, there are different ways for students to learn more effectively.

  • spatial (visual): using images and space to gain understanding
  • auditory (aural): using sounds or music
  • linguistic (verbal): using spoken or reading words
  • kinesthetic (physical): using the body and sense of touch
  • mathematical (logical): using reasoning and systems
  • interpersonal (social): learning in groups or with others
  • intrapersonal (solitary): learning by working and studying alone

It is important to understand that sometimes our classrooms are only focusing on certain learning styles. For example, textbooks work perfectly for the students who are linguistic or even spatial learners, but not so much for the kinesthetic and and auditory learners. This means we might spend hours trying to teach students and get absolutely nowhere.

Targeting the correct learning styles for individual students can make your life (and their lives) much easier. Therefore, the U.S Department of Education lists “personalizing academic content and strengthen the connection to the educational needs and interests of individual students” as the second principle of Next Generation High Schools.

So what are some ways you can personalize your curriculum to effectively cater to your students’ learning needs? The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Educational Technology has a blog with insights from schools that have prioritized a customized curriculum. Read this useful blog here.

Join us at World Future Forum for more research findings and best practices on Next Generation High Schools!

Innovation in the Classroom

The U.S. Department of Education listed “redesigning academic content and instructional practices to promote active and hands-on learning, aligned with post-secondary and career-readiness” as a principle for Next Generation High Schools. This means that schools are in charge of the curriculum and setting the expectations for students’ knowledge and skills. A great way to bridge high schools to colleges and careers is by providing innovation in the classroom.

What is innovation in the classroom?
Innovation in the classroom, or innovative teaching, is the process of leading to creative learning. Unlike a traditional classroom, in which the teacher lectures and the students just soak up the information, innovation in the classroom calls for more involvement from the student. In this setting, the student’s role is the same or even more important that the teacher’s role. It encourages students to be fully engaged in learning and reaching their full potential. Innovation in the classroom can be students playing educational games on iPads (technology) or researching real issues (project-based learning).

How do you use project-based learning? 
Project-based learning (PBL) is an instructional method that encourages students to learn and apply knowledge and skills through solving “real world” challenges. PBL prepares students for challenges of the 21st century and helps students feel confident to take on any future situations. An example of PBL can be starting a student farm. This project will provide a hands-on way to learn science, social studies, math, and economics while teaching students fun, useful skills. The Buck Institute for Education provides training for teachers and other school leaders by helping them redesign their curriculum to include PBL. For more information, visit

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