News: College Access & Success

New NCAN Guide for K-12: 5 Actions to Take Right Now to Help Seniors Transition After Graduating

Thursday, April 16, 2020  
Posted by: Bill DeBaun, Director of Data and Evaluation
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A new guide from the National College Attainment Network urges K-12 district and school leaders and personnel to take five steps to help their senior class transition to a 2- or 4-year college or certificate program after high school graduation. NCAN is releasing this resource as the coronavirus pandemic continues to strain systems and disrupt student learning and plans at all levels.

The guide, “Immediate Next Steps for Helping High School Seniors Transition to a 2-/4-Year College or Certificate Program: 5 Actions for Districts and Schools to Take Right Now” highlights practices that will be familiar to many in the college access and success field:

  • Conduct a senior exit survey now.
  • Focus on Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) completion.
  • Decode financial aid offers and compare costs.
  • Navigate decision deadlines.
  • Combat summer melt.

Each of the five sections includes questions that district and school personnel should ask themselves as well as their colleagues and partners involved with college and career readiness, key next steps to take, and a curated list of the best resources to complete the step.

“Students and families across the country are clearly facing a tremendous amount of uncertainty,” says NCAN Executive Director Kim Cook. “But in the face of that uncertainty, it’s important that districts and schools help students stay in the game and take the critical steps now that leave postsecondary options open to them later.”

The guide urges districts and schools that have not yet done so to conduct a senior exit survey as soon as possible. These surveys usually collect students’ postsecondary plans and forwarding addresses and in many districts are conducted close to graduation. But having these data in hand right now could help target each student with an intervention matching their plan. The guide includes sample surveys provided by NCAN members from which districts and schools can draw questions.

NCAN remains committed to helping its more than 450 members nationwide and the education field more broadly navigate this unprecedented situation from a college access and success standpoint. NCAN is continually updating a list of COVID-19 response resources and NCAN staff stand ready to provide technical assistance and make connections between districts, schools, and community partners.

We hope this guide will be helpful to districts and schools as they move quickly to provide students with the best postsecondary supports possible. NCAN’s mission is to close equity gaps in the postsecondary outcomes of underrepresented students. If NCAN can provide you with additional support, connect you with one of our members across the country, or address any comments or questions, please contact an NCAN staff member below!

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