College Readiness Is A Myth

Today’s young people are taking over 5.3 years to earn a 4-year degree.This low expectation is costing parents thousands of dollars.  Part of the reason for this may now be traced to the gap between parents’ beliefs about college readiness and actual reality.  In early 2006, the Public Agenda Organization released a reality survey that suggested the following:

  • 69% of parents believed that their high school graduating children had the skills needed to succeed in college
  • 7% of parents believed that their children DID NOT have the skills

This data when compared with research from ACT indicates that the majority of parents need a reality check. Only 51% of the ACT test takers met the college readiness benchmarks in reading. The ACT data confirms what the Nation’s Report Card revealed that national reading scores for 17 year olds have not changed in 33 years and are not even near what is demanded of today’s knowledge workers.

And even if the young person graduates from college, over 50% of them will not be able to compare credit card offers, interpret a table about exercise or blood pressure or understand the arguments of newspaper editorials.

The reasonable explanation for this gap may be that many parents believe what they experienced in college 20 or 30 years ago is what their children will be experiencing. Given that many of these parents attended public schools, they believe that their high school education was satisfactory for college readiness and college success. With the addition of new curriculum including technology (computers), advance college placement courses and the influx of best practices research from local universities, why should parents believe that high school is not preparing their children for college success?

Only when the majority of parents change their beliefs about this college readiness myth and become more proactive in their children’s education, we will begin to see dramatically improved performance both in high school and college. Until that time, universities will continue to smile as they take millions of dollars to the bank at the expense of students, parents and taxpayers.

Would you like to begin to separate the symptoms from the problems? Then register for FREE Educational Leadership Audit at

Are your students, your staff or even yourself where you want them or you to be? Reach for the Stars, is a FREE email course may help you begin to chart a course of for future professional or personal success. Visit

About the Author

Please feel free to contact me, Leanne Hoagland-Smith, Your Chief People Officer and Executive Coach, who works with individuals and organizations that are tired of not being where they want to be and truly want more for their businesses and their selves. 219.508.2859

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