Why Waiting to Go to College May Be the Best Choice You Ever Made

Dropping out of college and not finishing a degree the first time around might be a source of shame for some people. But recent research indicates that those people probably just weren’t ready for college when they enrolled.

Each year, a selection of U.S. high school students take the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP). These scores are used to determine how ready students are to start college or begin a career. According to the Nation’s Report Card, less than 40 percent of high school seniors score high enough to meet the standard (163 for math and 302 for reading) for college-readiness. Here were the scores in 2013:

preparedness3Source: Nation’s Report Card

Now here’s the part where we make you do some math. NPR reports that in 2015, the nationwide high school graduation rate was 82 percent. If fewer than 40 percent of those students didn’t make the bar, how many students have high schools sent into the workforce or college unprepared? The answer: about half of all graduates weren’t actually ready. (82 – 40 = 42)

While mathematics and reading are two main sections of the test, the NAEP also finds out whether students have the problem-solving strategies, study skills, and transition-handling capacity needed to succeed in college or a career. These skills are missing among many high school students, despite their plans to graduate. This means many students aren’t ready to enroll at a university. However, that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t ever return to school.

Most adult learners have learned these skills by the time they return to school. According to Colorado State University’s Dean of Students, Jody Donovan, adult students, “can be more emotionally mature and better equipped to handle academic stressors” than students going to school right after high school. More and more students are returning to school later in life, because they’ve built the necessary skills, and have the option of taking classes online.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), adult learners are expected to become the rule rather than the exception within the next 5 years. It’s predicted that nontraditional students will then make up 41% of all students.  All of this proves that not all students are ready to go to college straight out of high school—and that’s okay. These students will be in good company when they do return to school and they’ll be ready to succeed.

Are you ready to go back to school? Explore Colorado State University’s online and distance programs.


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