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Out-of-school programs play a role in ensuring postsecondary success. Preparing for college and career begins at an early age, and the level of youth engagement in school and enriching activities directly correlates with their ability and motivation to not only graduate, but also to pursue meaningful paths after graduation. Out-of-School Time (OST) programs can integrate elements into their program structure to either indirectly or directly guide youth towards good opportunities for either college or career.

featured resource — heart of florida united way's going2college text message campaign

The Heart of Florida United Way launched the Going2College text messaging campaign to reduce the information barrier that prevents high school youth from going to college. This initiative, developed alongside Central Florida College Access Network (CFCAN), increases college access by giving guidance via text message throughout the college application process. A student, parent, or mentor can get information about financial aid, deadlines, and other relevant resources by texting the code of the school(s) in which he/she is interested.


importance of a postsecondary focus

Meandering Toward Graduation: Transcript Outcomes of High School Graduates (2016)
This report from Ed Trust examines the disparity that exists between High School graduation rates and true preparation for college and career. It explores how almost half of students graduate high school without having exposure to curriculum that prepares them for college or career and highlights the need to make the diploma mean something.

Building a Grad Nation: Data Brief: Overview of 2013-14 High School Graduation Rates (2016)
This data brief, created by the Everyone Graduates Center and Civic Enterprises in collaboration with the Alliance for Excellent Education and America's Promise Alliance, shares state-by-state trends in high school graduation rates. It focuses on breaking down graduation rates by key groups of students.

Building Postsecondary Pathways for Opportunity Youth (2015)
This "Lessons Learned" document is part of the brief from The American Youth Policy Forum which investigates pathways into postsecondary education and the workforce for vulnerable older youth in Connecticut and Michigan. It seeks to provide information that will foster a dialogue among key stakeholders on the state-level.

Youth Employment (2014)
This white paper from United Way Worldwide examines the need for a comprehensive strategy to improve United Way efforts around youth employment. It uses findings from a study of the Community Leaders Panel, which consists of 95 U.S. and international United Way CEOs. Overall, it explores the necessity of using a Collective Impact Model to most effectively foster collaboration among diverse stakeholders and maximize potential impact from youth employment efforts. Throughout the report, it discusses potential solutions and shares specific examples.

In This Together: The Hidden Cost of Young Adult Unemployment (2014)
This policy brief from Young Invincibles is a call to action around young adult unemployment. It explains how the failure to provide young people with good jobs is actually costing the public and the economy a staggering amount at both the federal and the state level.

Predictors of Postsecondary Success (2013)
This brief from the The College and Career Readiness and Success Center gives information to school, district, and state personnel looking for support to decipher if their students are on the path to postsecondary success. It summarizes behaviors, skills, and other traits that predict students' future academic and career success, at the levels of Early Childhood, Elementary, Middle Grades, and High School. The brief then discusses the implications that knowing these predictors has on the ability to measure and promote student postsecondary success.


role of osT programs

A Proven Solution for Dropout Prevention: Expanded Learning Opportunities (2012)
This article explores how OST programs can integrate with dropout prevention initiatives to increase school attendance, promote academic gains, improve behavior, and overall lead to increased graduation rates. It shares key research and explores examples of programs working within these areas.

Youth Program Quality Implications for Policy and Practice (2012)
This Ready By 21 brief examines the implications of the Youth Program Quality Intervention (YPQI) and reasons why many out-of-school programs do not achieve their potential impact on youth, including in the college and career preparedness field. It shares evidence that expresses the need for high-quality training, programming, follow-up and assessment in the OST field.

The Potential of Career and College Readiness and Exploration in Afterschool Programs (2012)
This article from the American Youth Policy Forum, featured in the compendium Expanding Minds and Opportunities: Leveraging the Power of Afterschool and Summer Learning for Student Success, explores the importance of using the potential of out-of-school programs to promote college and career opportunities. The article gives specific examples of programs and initiatives that have been successful, and it recommends certain steps for OST programs to take in order to achieve success.

Providing Innovative Opportunities and Options for Credit Recovery Through Afterschool and Summer Learning Programs (2012)
This article highlights the role that afterschool and summer programs can play in credit recovery and the impact that getting students back on track can have on their long-term development and success. It focuses on the innovative capabilities of OST programs and the ways in which programs have successfully used their flexibility to help students with credit recovery. Finally, it gives eight tangible recommendations for high-quality OST credit recovery efforts.


Ready by 21, Credentialized by 26 Series

This series of issue briefs by Ready by 21 promotes increased collaboration measures across multiple sectors – business, nonprofits, government, education, communities and families – to increase postsecondary completion and create an effective transition environment for youth.

Insulating the Education Pipeline to Increase Postsecondary Success (2010)
First in the series, this issue brief examines the importance of postsecondary completion and the positioning of the United States in this area.

High Expectations & Strong Supports Yield Postsecondary Success (2011)
This second brief explores tangible ways to insulate the education pipeline for vulnerable, older youth through provision of key supports necessary for success. It highlights YouthBuild Brockton's partnership with Massasoit Community College to transition from dropout recovery to postsecondary completion. Then, it describes research on higher education supports for students and shares insight from a senior associate at the Institute for Higher Education Policy.

Changing the Odds for Students- Spotlight on Kingsborough College (2011)
The third issue brief looks into how leaders of Kingsborough Community College in Brooklyn, NY have altered the manner with which they approach business to improve student success. It explains how they improved data use, developed a high-level coordination body, and more effectively allocated resources, and the positive impact those changes made on improving persistence and graduation rates.

When Working Works: Employment and Postsecondary Success (2011)
Fourth in the series, this brief summarizes research on postsecondary success and gives examples of institutions and employers that use innovative methods of supporting student persistence while maintaining and advancing their bottom lines by creating “college-friendly” jobs.

Raising the Bar from Ready by 21 to Credentialed by 26: Highlights from Community and State Efforts (2012)
This fifth and final brief focuses on alignment between multi-sector work in the field. It explores how leaders are working together to achieve postsecondary success on both the community and state levels by examining two initiatives. The first, the Credentialed by 26 Community Challenge, supported four communities in starting local conversations around ways to improve postsecondary success. The second, the Credential by 26 Policy Roundtables, helped leaders in three states to identify low-cost policy options to increase support for low-income college students. The brief concludes with a sample of policy changes that would promote postsecondary success.


flagship programs

After School Matters, Chicago
This Chicago-based program is one of the strongest out-of-school program examples for a model that promotes college and career success. Follow the link above to visit After School Matters' website and learn how they've created a program for teens that follows an apprenticeship model to help teens gain valuable skills and enhanced motivation. The main components of the program include: advocating for teens, creating opportunities for teens through partnerships with local organizations, preparing teens for work and higher education, highlighting teen accomplishments, and sharing research and best practices about OST for teens. Read the article "After-School Programs and Academic Impact: A Study of Chicago's After School Matters" to see evidence of the positive impact this program has on Chicago teens.

Build San Francisco Institute
This Institute is a half-day program for high school students interested in engineering, construction, design, and architecture. In partnership with the Architectural Foundation of San Francisco, the San Francisco Unified School District, and over two dozen major firms, the Build San Francisco Institute crafted a merged academic program and mentorship opportunity for local students. Students are able to gain hard skills and knowledge in these areas and then take it to the next level and apply that knowledge in a practical, real-world environment.


postsecondary tools for students

Big Future
From The College Board, this website has a plethora of resources for college- or career-bound students to get them informed, excited, and connected. It helps students find colleges, explore careers, determine ways to pay for college, get accepted to college, and make a plan for college. Some notable resources include:

  • Make a Plan:  This resource allows students to choose their current grade in high school, the amount they have thought about college, their preferences for college, and their financial priorities before generating a student-tailored road map.
  • Find Colleges:  This part of the website lets students search college by location, majors, cost, or if the student does not know, it also includes a "first step" section.
  • Explore Careers:  Helping to draw connections, it gives students new career ideas, suggestions for majors that match career interests, and examples of how others made their choices.
  • Paying for College:  This section walks students through the financial aid process, from understanding and applying for financial aid to locating scholarship opportunities to the basics of student loans.
  • Get In:  This part of the website helps students with the application and acceptance process.

Fiske Guide to Colleges Self-Quiz
This self-assessment from the Fiske Guide to Colleges asks students 30 questions dealing with size, location, and large-scale issues like their preferred personality and character of a college. It then shares suggestions for student's college priorities based on their responses in various categories. It then goes question-by-question and explains the significance of what considering that aspect of college matters, and what different responses can mean for your future.

FAFSA: Applying for Aid
The Federal Student Aid office of the U.S. Department of Education offers a variety of resources for those looking to complete a FAFSA and apply for aid. On the main website, linked to above, there are numerous resources related to specific aspects of FAFSA and particular questions about the process. Additionally, some noteable resources include:

Do You Need Money for College?: Federal Student Aid At a Glance
This U.S. Department of Education resource gives an overview of federal student aid. It includes a chart that explains the various programs, types of aid, and details of applying and potential amount awarded.

College Going Activities K–6
This resource from Amy Pimentel, an education consultant, provides a variety of activities tailored to students in Kindergarten through 6th grade. The activities can be led by an OST staff member, and they center around college preparation in an innovative, engaging manner. 

Realizing the College Dream
This resource is intended to help educators increase the rate of college attendance among low-income, first-generation students. It provides interactive workshops and hands-on activities about planning for and affording college, examples of experiences that challenge students to picture themselves in college, and important information that can help students understand the economic value of college. Visit their website to download the guide for free.


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