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After Five-Year Run, College Bound Blog Sunsets

When I was approached about writing the College Bound blog in 2010, I was game. I had covered education as a freelancer for many years and my high school son was just starting to talk about college. The beat sounded interesting and the timing was right.

Five years and 1,130 blog posts later, College Bound is coming to a close. I will continue to be a contributing writer at Education Week, covering in-depth stories for print and online. Catherine Gewertz has launched a new blog, High School & Beyond, covering the forces that shape adolescents' pathways to college and career. It will touch on some of the same issues that College Bound covered.

Looking back at my coverage, College Bound gave me an excuse to ask questions about taking rigorous courses in high school, the value of test prep for college-entrance exams, what to look for on a college visit, and the role of parents in the college search (not the drivers). I learned more than my kids ever wanted me to know about the issues we encountered together, weaving fun facts into the dinner conversation, such as how students who work some in college are more likely get good grades.

I also became aware of the great disparity in college access and completion between students from wealthy and low-income families.  In recent years, I witnessed an increased focus on helping students from disadvantaged backgrounds navigate what can be a complicated college search process.

I reported about innovative programs through the government, nonprofit community organizations, universities, community colleges, and high schools to better prepare students for college.  I met so many educators, counselors, and advocates who are dedicated to making sure more young people not only get into college, but have the support they need to complete a degree. And it's necessary work. I never met a student on the verge of going to college who didn't expect he or she would finish.  But, unfortunately, many fall short of money or hit other roadblocks and never achieve their dream.

I have written about major changes with the SAT, the expansion of the ACT, the rising cost of college, debates over student loans and Pell grants, efforts to reform remedial education, the transformation of career technical education, and the explosion of dual enrollment, Advanced Placement, and International Baccalaureate programs.  Along with academic rigor, I heard a growing number of experts emphasize the need to help students develop life skills, such as grit and resilience, to be successful.  

I am grateful to the many smart people I interviewed for this blog about the latest being done to improve education. Their patience in explaining their research, strategies, and ideas enabled me to then convey their important work to you. I want to thank the readers for taking the time to click on this site. I hope you will continue to follow my byline at Education Week and keep up to date on the issues with High School & Beyond. And finally, I appreciate the opportunity and feedback that my editors have provided.

It's been a great ride. Now, my oldest is about to complete college and the process begins again as my middle son fills out his college applications this fall. I won't be writing a daily blog, but he need not worry: I have stored up enough stats and words of wisdom to recycle over dinner. Now the trick will be to remember it all—or know the latest—when my youngest embarks on the journey in another five years.

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