College and Career Readiness Starts in Middle School

“What do you want to be when you grow up?”

You probably remember being asked and/or asking a child a similar question. Emerging college-and-career readiness programs are still asking students the same question but demanding more follow through and from younger pupils.

An increase in college-and-career readiness courses interested researchers so that they started asking when should such a program be instated and they got the answer: middle school. Researchers found middle school is a critical time for students to improve academically and develop a positive attitude toward future schooling and career.

In order for students to benefit from a college-and-career-readiness program, they must feel they are doing the searching and following their personal goals they set for themselves. Pathways to Success is an initiative that has students find a career that interests them and then asks them to map out what they will be required to do in high school, college, and beyond to achieve their goal. By showing students how to map their goals, it’s expected to allow students to dream bigger and see the process of their journey.

Deborah Kasak, the executive director of the National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform, said:

“We need to instill in our students the habits of mind, skills, and work that will prepare them well for the future while remembering they are still young adolescents. We don’t want to forget they are still learning about themselves, thinking about options, and really thinking for the first time about what they may want to do now and when they graduate.”

Yesterday, in my article Study Shows Middle School Transition Affects High School Success, I also shared how developing research shows the transition to middle school is more traumatic to students than the transition to high school. Middle school students have recently become a hot topic in education news as experts question if academic, social, and emotional intervention is coming too late if we wait until high school.

I also recently gave a webinar with School Speciality on transition success, both for students transitioning to middle school and high school. You can watch the webinar for FREE by clicking here.


“Middle Schoolers Getting Prepped for College,” by Nora Fleming. 29 November 2011. Education Week. Accessed on 29 November 2011.

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One Response to “College and Career Readiness Starts in Middle School”

  1. I think it is so important to get kids thinking about careers at a young age. Simple, everyday conversations can help kids plant the seeds of thought about careers, entrepreneurship, etc. I recently wrote about this at my blog and listed questions that parents can ask or can use as conversation starters with their kids.

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