College Transitions

Each year, hundreds of thousands of American students graduate from high school and enter college without being adequately prepared to succeed. Nearly half of low-income high school graduates do not enroll in college at all. This is in part the result of differing expectations for readiness between high school and higher education.

Many higher education policies prevent clear alignment between colleges and high schools. This disconnect is visible in many places—in required coursework, minimum state standards for admission into higher education systems, academic merit requirements for financial aid, and course placement policies that determine whether a student will take college-level courses during their first year.


Minimum Admission Requirements

State public higher education systems often set state or system-wide minimum standards for admission. These minimum standards often require students to submit college entrance exam scores.

Merit Aid

States offer different types of financial aid to graduating high school students going on to higher education. The two primary types of financial aid are need-based aid and merit aid.

Course Placement

A number of colleges and universities require students to retest basic skills in mathematics and English language arts through the administration of standardized, computer-adaptive course placement exams.

Developmental or Remedial Education

Developmental education, sometimes referred to as remedial education, describes coursework at colleges and universities that is intended to fill in knowledge and skill gaps for students deemed unready for college-level coursework.