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High School Diploma Requirements Don’t Align With College Admissions Criteria

High school graduation rates are the highest they’ve ever been, but college graduation rates haven’t increased in response. Researchers at the Center for American Progress attribute this, in part, to the lack of communication between high schools and universities.

A majority of states have public high school diploma requirements that fail to meet admissions criteria for that state’s public university systems, according to findings from a recently released report.

“A lot of states, including Arizona, don’t require a lab science or even a specific science course type so it really is up to the student to take the right courses,” said Laura Jimenez, who co-authored the report.

Without guidance and clearly defined plans for post-secondary education during high school, a student could find themselves adding remedial and catch-up courses to their freshman year of college.

About half of all college freshmen need to enroll in these remedial courses, and according to Jimenez, adding additional costs and time to a college career could lead a student to drop out before degree completion.

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Claire Caulfield was a reporter and Morning Edition producer from 2015 to 2019.