In academic, business, and political circles, the call for developing the skills required to compete and succeed in the 21st century has been a topic of discussion for a number of years, and it has a number of names. Career Readiness. 21st-Century Learning. College and Career Ready. Deeper Learning. Call it what you will, but here’s what any one of these titles means: being prepared for the changing world in which we live; high school graduates who have the skills, knowledge, and capabilities needed to succeed in modern economic and civic life, whether attending college or beginning a job.In both college and career, here’s what students and employees are increasingly expected to do: problem-solve, work collaboratively, communicate clearly and consistently, and more. Content mastery is still expected, but knowledge is applied in different ways, often using digital tools. Work is often project-based, and not independent, requiring a different mindset and skill set to achieve goals and move ahead.More students are moving ahead to college in the United States than ever before but data show that they may not be fully prepared for the transition. Nearly 70 percent of high school graduates were enrolled in a college or university in 2017, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics. Most students – about 60 percent – don’t complete their degree in four years, though, with many of them taking up to six years. A startling number – about 30 percent – don’t finish at all.While the race to win admission to college is as intense as it’s ever been, these numbers raise a serious question: are students even ready for college when they get there?“There’s a difference between getting kids through the gate of college and kids being successful in college,” says Cuilla. Anyone who has made the transition from high school to college knows that one of the most exciting benefits can also be one of the most precarious: personal freedom. For most students, managing this independence is a challenge. A key characteristic for success in college is a student’s ability to take responsibility for their own behavior and well being. They must understand how to self-monitor and self manage; one of NTN’s Learning Outcomes, Agency, singularly prepares them for this in a way that conventional classrooms don’t.“Let’s have a different conversation about what it means to be college ready,” says Cuilla. “This doesn’t mean getting in; it means getting in and persisting until graduation. That’s college ready.”

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