As a high school college counselor, I should be enjoying a relaxing summer, but my work is far from over. My summer days are dedicated to making calls to every graduating senior to ensure deadlines are being met, deposits are being paid, and orientations are being attended. And that doesn’t end after the student starts college.
Today, graduates of KIPP high schools complete college at a rate of 45 percent, that is four times the national average of 11 percent for students from similar socioeconomic backgrounds. We accomplish this through detailed check-ins with our college students and maintaining a lower student-to-counselor ratio (roughly 100-to-1 versus 482-to-1 nationwide).
Imagine if every student had access to this level of intensive college counseling, then our college completion rates would improve. Today only one out of 10 students from low-income families earn a bachelor’s degree. The KIPP Foundation is urging Congress to prioritize college counseling nationwide and make it a priority in the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act. We recommend creating a federal grant program intended to increase the number of college counselors in public schools, adopt proven evidence-based counseling practices, and track results.