by Emily Hanford

Preparing Kids for College and Getting Them Through

More people are going to college than ever before, but a lot of them aren't finishing. Low-income students, in particular, struggle to get to graduation. Only 9 percent complete a bachelor's degree by age 24. Why are so many students quitting, and what leads a few to beat the odds and make it through? In this documentary, American RadioWorks correspondent Emily Hanford introduces us to young people trying to break into the middle class, teachers trying to increase their chances and researchers investigating the nature of persistence.

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The YES Prep charter school network has proved that a good high school education can help close the achievement gap. Since it was founded in 1995, almost all of its graduates have gone to college. But most of those students have not finished their degrees. Why aren't they graduating?

"Grit" is a personality trait that some people have more of than others. New research is exploring whether grit may be a key to college success.

First-generation college students are twice as likely to quit college as students whose parents have bachelor's degrees. Meet four students whose stories illustrate why it's a challenge to be the first in your family to go to college.


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American RadioWorks education correspondent Emily Hanford quit college and eventually went back and graduated. In this reporter's notebook, she talks about why she left and how her experience helped shape her interests as a journalist. Read her story.


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Published Fall 2012

The Tomorrow's College series is funded by a grant from Lumina Foundation, which is committed to enrolling and graduating more students from college, and by a grant from the Spencer Foundation, which is dedicated to the belief that research is necessary to the improvement of education.

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