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New Gallup Poll Reveals Only 1 in 4 U.S. Adults Believe Students Are Prepared for College and Career

April 25, 2018

Arlington, Va., April 25, 2018—A new survey by Gallup released today reveals that only 1 in 4 U.S. adults (25 percent) believe most high school students are prepared for success in college.  Roughly the same percentage of respondents (22 percent) believe high school graduates are prepared for success in the workplace.  

The poll, conducted on behalf of Communities In Schools, was released today at the organization’s inaugural Milliken Dialogues and Policy Summit at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. The focus of the summit is Supporting All Students for College, Career, and Civic Engagement.  

Among U.S. adults, concerns about preparedness for college and career were consistent across all demographics, including gender, ethnicity, income and education. Younger U.S. adults were most likely to report they believed graduates are unprepared. Approximately 22 percent of respondents aged 15-24 believe grads are not at all prepared, compared with 15 percent of those aged 50 and over.  

The Gallup poll included these additional findings: 

  • 24 percent of U.S. adults with a bachelor’s degree believe HS grads are unprepared for the workplace 

  • 12 percent of HS grads believe HS students are unprepared for the workplace 

Respondents were also asked to choose among a list of potential programs and interventions that would be most helpful in improving student preparedness for college. Financial planning and management tied with social and life skills, conflict resolution, interpersonal communications and persistence.  

“These results paint a real picture of the harsh reality for many high school students who graduate without a clear path forward,” said Dale Erquiaga, President and CEO of Communities In Schools. Our school systems and youth-serving organizations must do a better job providing access to opportunities to develop knowledge and skills they need to achieve success in college and the workplace.     

According to the survey, programs that would be the most helpful in improving preparedness for the workplace are job and employment skills training such as interviewing and resume writing and social and life skills such as teamwork, communication and decision-making were the next most commonly mentioned interventions and programs at 42 and 38 percent respectively. 

About Gallup Methodology  

These results are based on telephone interviews conducted March 12-18, 2018, via the U.S. Gallup Poll, with a random sample of 1,506 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level. All reported margins of sampling error include computed design effects for weighting. 

More details about how the Gallup U.S. Poll is conducted can be found here.

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