Unfortunately, the current state of advising is not structured to meet its full potential. When asked to assess the current level of quality and coherence of advising in both K-12 and higher education, the leaders we interviewed from across the country classified it as highly variable, disconnected, and inequitable.
Four Key Challenges to Expand Aligned Advising
Lack of Ownership
The absence of clear owners and definitions of success around postsecondary transitions creates a missed opportunity for visionary leadership, creates friction between stakeholders, and allows too many students to fall through the cracks.
There’s no [formal] incentive for K-12 and higher education to work together, which leads to a lot of misunderstanding between the two sectors.
- State Agency Leader
College and career advising is a given in highly-resourced schools, while many public high schools struggle to offer those supports to every student. Students of color, low-income students, first-generation students, and rural students continue to face systemic barriers and insufficient support.
Education has a design problem. We’ve designed a system where we take the most financially supported students with the best academic preparation and place them in institutions with the most resources.
- Higher Education Leader
Too much data and too many disparate systems make navigating the maze from high school to postsecondary unnecessarily burdensome for students, families, and advisors.
Quality is extremely variable both within schools and among schools. Even when there is a general acknowledgement about the importance of advising, there are challenges in systematizing and implementing it.
- K-12 District Leader
Student-to-counselor ratios are high, and counselor duties are continually stretched. Technology can help build capacity, but technology alone is not sufficient to support students on their journey to postsecondary and on to careers.
Public school districts are maxed out for capacity. It shouldn’t only be counselors who are tapped to do this work.
- College Access Organization Leader
The significant shifts in students' postsecondary plans due to the pandemic have exacerbated the urgency to prioritize advising.
in Fall 2020 enrollment for first-time undergraduates
(National Student Clearinghouse; November 2020)
in year-to-year FAFSA completion rates
(National College Attainment Network; May 2021)
their postsecondary education plans for Fall 2020
(US Census Household Pulse Survey; August 2020)
And the nation’s reckoning with racial justice has re-emphasized how systems continue to perpetuate inequities.