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Community College Students Feel Unprepared From High School

Just over half of community college students in a recent survey said they felt unprepared for the rigors of college-level work.

The nonprofit Pearson Foundation and Harris Interactive asked current college students this fall about their experience in an online survey, and the results illuminate the need for improved college readiness.

Students felt their high school could have done more by placing a stronger emphasis on basic skills (48 percent), offering more courses (52 percent) and offering more challenging courses (48 percent). Of the recent high school graduates surveyed, 71 percent say they are working harder in community college than they did in high school.

These findings are similar to student feedback in a College Board poll earlier this year of students one year after high school graduation. In addition to taking harder classes, 47 percent wished they had worked harder in high school, and 37 percent said the requirements for graduating from high school should be more difficult.

The second annual Pearson Foundation Community College Student Survey also reveals that community college students are having trouble gaining access to courses. Nearly four in 10 (37 percent) were unable to enroll in a class this semester because it was full.

Other interesting findings about online learning:

-57 percent of community college students have taken college courses online, and 46 percent are taking at least one course online this fall semester;
-Of those students who have enrolled in online classes, 74 percent say they are satisfied with their experience;
-81 percent of students agree that while online courses can be convenient; while 61 percent say they can also be more difficult than in-person courses;
-39 percent agree that they would like to take all their classes online.

The survey included 1,205 U.S. residents between the ages of 18 and 59 who were enrolled in a U.S. community college and pursuing at least one course for college credit at any point between Aug. 1 and the time the survey was taken.

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