Equipping students with tools to succeed in college and beyond - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Equipping students with tools to succeed in college and beyond

JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

College graduates typically have better jobs and earn more money compared to those who only make it through high school. So, getting Mississippi's students better prepared for higher education brought out educators from across the region to discuss how to get more students in and through college.

We spend twelve years in school to prepare for college and get a good job. But in Mississippi, the majority of students aren't meeting academic benchmark requirements to successfully get ready for higher education.

"Of all of our high school seniors, 100% roughly take the ACT, only 10% are exceeding all four college readiness standards or benchmarks," said Dr. Jay Allen, the ACT State Representative.

In addition to most students not being adequately prepared for college, it's also taking longer for those who do enter college to complete their undergraduate degree in four years. Currently, 55% of students who graduate high school and go straight to college complete their degree within 6 years.

"What we really want to see happening is students come in ready for college level work and finish their degree in four years," said Dr. Al Rankins, the Associate Commissioner for Academic and Student Affairs for the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning.

Helping students better prepare for college and graduate in a timely fashion is the focus of the Mississippi College and Career Readiness Summit. The goal is to equip educators with tools that are working in various schools to get students prepped for college. For example, in Florida, some districts focus on student's weaknesses their senior year, in an effort to eliminate the achievement gap.

While the focus of the summit is to help better prepare high school students for college, educators say getting students ready for higher education really needs to begin in elementary school.

"We need to do a better job as educators linking and aligning what students are doing early in their career to what they're going to do later in their career," said Paul Weeks, the Vice President of Educational Services for ACT.

About 200 people attended Wednesday's summit.

Copyright 2012 WLBT. All rights reserved.

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