Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Too Cool for School?

Today, Eduwonk's guestblogger J.B. Schramm asks the question, "How Can We Make Going to College Cool?" 

Schramm claims that high school students are more likely to attend college if their friends also plan to attend. Therefore, according to his logic, "positive peer pressure" is the solution to getting kids to go to college. You have to make college cool, or so he writes, because then, kids will want to go. 

One problem: minority and low-income kids don't avoid in college because "it's uncool." They do not enroll because it is expensive, the admissions process is confusing, or they are not academically-prepared for the work, amongst other reasons. These students understand the value of a college degree - it doesn't have to be "cool" - but they are up against a lot of obstacles in reaching that degree. 

It is important to have a "college culture" within schools - and especially important in low-income, high minority schools. But peer pressure isn't enough. Schools need to give our students the practical skills and strategies that will help them understand how to apply to college, get in, and stay through graduation. Kids understand the value of college - let's teach them how to get there. 

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