The report, sponsored by Kresge Foundation, reviews products and services in the college access landscape and identifies opportunities and gaps. Products and services were reviewed in four categories: preparation, admissions, financial planning, and college success.
Three market gaps are highlighted:
There are few sites that target the needs of younger students: There is a growing foundation of evidence that stresses the importance of early preparation, yet the vast majority of sites are centered around the college application and financial planning process for high school juniors and seniors. Few websites are aimed at supporting the work of middle school students and high school freshmen and sophomore students.
There are few sites that offer end-to-end assistance throughout the college process: Most sites offer help for just one slice of the college application process. The most effective end-to-end tools, like Naviance or College Greenlight, require an adult in the student’s life to guide the student through the process and/or a school-based subscription. Despite the fact that hundreds of thousands of students have no effective adult advocate guiding them through the college process, there are few, if any, end-to-end tools that empower and support students directly during the college application process.
The most well-designed sites have not yet found their audience: Because of initiatives like the College Knowledge Challenge, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, there are a number of up and coming sites that begin to address the gaps outlined above. Unfortunately, these sites often do not have a marketing or distribution strategy that ensures that the tools will connect with the students who need them most.
This timely report addresses critical market gaps, but the problem is actually worse–most American schools are missing a college and career ready spine–an advisory system that boosts career and college awareness, supports postsecondary goal setting, and connects students and families to support services. The Getting Smart team will be addressing these topics in upcoming blogs and reports. Like our friends at Get Schooled, “We hope you will join or continue the dialogue with us.”
For more, see How Children Succeed: Attachment, Advisory & Adversity