Beyond College for All: Policies and Practices to Improve Transitions Into College and Jobs. (Special Issues: Career Development and the Changing Workplace).

In the past two decades, changes in the U.S. economy have altered the requirements for both college and work, with important implications for school counselors whose job it is to provide information and guidance to students with regard to personal, academic, and career options. The unfortunate tendency has been for educators to assume that the changing economy simply requires more education, resulting in the misguided belief that all students should attend college. At the same time, the dramatic increase in open admissions policies, especially among 2-year colleges, has made a college education much more accessible. The result has been a well-meaning but misguided college-for-all attitude among educators and students. Educators have often encouraged college-for-all policies which inadvertently prevent students from (a) getting crucial information about how they are doing; (b) seeing the full range of desirable options for school and work; (c) assessing the appropriateness of these options and their likely outcomes; and (d) seeing what actions they can take to improve their educational and career outcomes. Given the potential harmfulness of the college-for-all mentality, we recommend procedures to give students and educators better information on academic and career options, allowing students to plan and act more effectively for success in school and beyond. Likewise, these recommendations will help school counselors to think about their role as academic and career advisors in a way that takes the new reality of higher education and labor markets into consideration.

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