Survey Shows High School Students Increasingly Interested in Career Education

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Feature Story

By Chris Carroll

Did you know that nearly 1 million high school students expressed an interest in a degree or program offered by career colleges, but only about a quarter of those students actually ended up enrolling at a career college?

The path to a successful career for high school students, according to some popular opinion, involves the pursuit of a degree from a traditional four-year college or university. However, new data from almost 5.5 million students attending over 20,000 high schools nationwide showed many students do not share that opinion. The fact that a relatively low percentage of students who expressed interest in career education actually enroll in a career institution shows that many high school students are not fully aware of their different education options.

Student with Backpack

In an effort to address this issue, the Imagine America Foundation teamed up with the National Research Center for College and University Admissions (NRCCUA) earlier this year to present a seminar titled "Understanding the High School Student." Career college executives from across the nation gathered to learn how best to utilize response data to help career colleges better understand how high school students make college decisions.

The new data, collected by NRCCUA, the nation’s leading authority on high school attitudes and aspirations, revealed the top-growing career interests of surveyed students, which included nursing/healthcare, business administration, art, culinary/chef, and dental health. Several interesting things were also revealed about how high school students gather information on colleges they are interested in. Both male and female high school students reported that they turn to a college’s web site for information more than any other source. However, less than 15 percent of students said that they attend college nights to find information.

Additionally, nearly 60 percent of students stated that their preferred method of staying in touch with a college after making an initial contact was via email. This is in comparison to less than 4 percent of students who listed text messaging as the preferred method. While there have been exciting new advances in technology, it seems as though some of the latest methods of communication that are popular amongst teens are reserved for social interaction.

While the new data shows striking differences in how students and some administrators view career education, it is clear that students are increasingly looking for a wide variety of resources to make their college decision. For information on career college resources for your students, visit If you would like more information on the results from this survey or are interested in attending an upcoming seminar, please contact Chris Carroll at

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