Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Oxford Schools Prep Grads to Pick: College or No?

Right now, high school seniors in Mississippi and all across the country are applying to colleges and waiting for word of their acceptance.  But recently, some families have been thinking harder about the value of a university degree.

According to U.S. Census data from 2013, 25% of college graduates earned about the same salary as the average high school grad.

“High school counselors definitely pressure you to go to college and not go to a two-year program or go straight into the workforce,” Ole Miss freshman Luke Napolitano said, “which I believe they should show you different options besides a four-year college.”

In the Oxford School District (OSD), though, helping students see that there are more options is part of the plan.

“We certainly want students to be successful and go to college, but we want them to be successful overall,” Superintendent Brian Harvey said. “Ninety percent of our graduates enter college, but less than half end up going on to graduate college.”

In 2018, there were 45 juniors and 44 seniors in the district who scored 30 or higher on the ACT. Though administrators are proud of that success, Harvey says Oxford High School has to do more than get students ready for higher ed.

“Do we prepare students for college or do we prepare students for life?” Harvey asked. “We think we believe and want our community to believe that we prepare them for life because that is the most beneficial for them.”

The district has developed its own Portrait of a Graduate. The focus is on creating graduates with eight skills and abilities, including creative thinking, effective communication and resilience.

“Our community believes that is necessary for students to be successful in life regardless if they go off to college or just go straight to work. These skills are important for every single person. ”

Authors: Bailey Martin bcmartin@go.olemiss.edu and Skye Spiehler sespiehl@go.olemiss.edu

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