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Effort Stepped Up to Get Hoosiers into College

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An effort is under way in Indiana to get some kind of post-secondary education for more people. (Virginia Carter)
An effort is under way in Indiana to get some kind of post-secondary education for more people. (Virginia Carter)
 By Veronica CarterContact
May 2, 2016

INDIANAPOLIS – Not all students consider themselves college material, but there's an effort in Indiana to change that.

Tracy Butler, director of college and career counseling at the Indiana Youth Institute, says the institute has created the College and Career Success Mentoring Toolkit to help young people realize that everyone can have a successful life after high school.

"Even if you don't think that you're college material, and by the time you graduate from high school you're just done with school and you never want to go back to school, if we can help them understand that there's a lot of opportunities out there outside of a two or four-year program," she points out.

Butler says Indiana's track record for graduating students from college on time isn't very good. About a quarter of students who starts a two or four-year program finish on time.

For minority students the numbers are worse. Fourteen percent finish a college degree on time, and less than a quarter does it even when given extra years to graduate.

The toolkit is available for download on the Indiana Youth Institute's website.

Butler says high school counselors are there to help students learn about their choices when it comes to continuing their education, but she says Indiana has a shortage of those mentors.

"We're the 10th worst in the country for how high our counselor-to-student ratio is, and what that means is on average, for every high school counselor that we have they're trying to serve about 500 students," she states.

Butler says it's key to convince young people that they don't have to go to a two or four-year college. There are lots of other options, including places such as Ivy Tech that offer one or two-year programs, or large manufacturers in Indiana that provide paid training on site.

"Really, every young person in Indiana needs to be seeing themselves as a college-going person,” Butler stresses. “Even if it's not technically a college that they're going to, if they're going to a one-year program or some kind of a trade-based program, they need to see that high school graduation is not actually the finish line, but it's really the starting line."

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