PowerSchool Survey Reveals the Need to Engage First-Generation College Students to Help Them Plan for College, Career, and Life Readiness

Research found first-generation students were more likely to enroll in a two-year college or start work directly after high school

FOLSOM, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–PowerSchool, the leading provider of cloud-based software for K-12 education in North America, has announced results from its third annual Naviance Student Survey. The survey found that first-generation students – those whose parents did not finish college – were more likely to forgo enrolling in a four-year college and are more likely to enroll in a two-year college or enter the workforce after high school.

The annual report surveyed 9,600 middle and high school students in the spring of 2022, exploring how students are making postsecondary planning decisions and what they need from school communities to be successful in reaching their goals. The survey found most high school seniors (77%) plan to attend college. However, as a result of the shifts related to the COVID-19 pandemic, recent and soon-to-be graduates engaged with college planning activities much later than their predecessors. This, along with a fluctuating economy and the student debt crisis, has caused greater uncertainty for students in their postsecondary plans as they navigate a challenging landscape. Increasing uncertainty is also driving fewer students to apply via binding early decision applications.

Seniors who were not planning to attend college (23%) were also facing uncertainty. Almost one third (32%) of students not planning to attend college reported being undecided about postsecondary plans. When asked what resources or tools would help them with their planning, almost half reported “access to job shadows or career fairs” and an additional quarter requested “more tools to research colleges and careers, visiting a college campus, and meeting with my counselor more.”

“Over the past two years, we have seen an acceleration in the diversification of postsecondary options and increasing uncertainty among students and families regarding how they connect academic and lifelong success,” said Amy Reitz, Group Vice President, Product, PowerSchool. “The results of the Naviance Student Survey illustrate the criticality of providing connected pathway planning resources that help all students pursue their post-secondary and career goals. This direct feedback is helping our product development team evolve Naviance to ensure we’re providing a solution that meets the needs of students today and tomorrow.”

Plans for First-Generation College Students

For the first time, questions included in the survey focused on postsecondary plans between high school seniors that identify as first-generation (those who reported that their parents had not completed college) with seniors who are not the first in their family to attend college. Key comparisons include:

  • First-generation students were less likely to enroll in a four-year college (43% compared to non-first-generation at 72%) and more likely to enroll in a two-year college (25% compared to 14%).
  • First-generation students were more likely to be undecided or planned to start work after high school (10% compared to 4% for both).
  • First-generation students were more likely to report enrolling in a trade school (9% compared to 4%).

Without a college degree earner in their household, first-generation college students can benefit from additional advice and support provided by their schools or other resources, including Naviance, which helps fill information gaps if they choose a higher education path. Features such as SuperMatch®, give students a college search tool that makes it easier for them to discover colleges and universities that are a match for their needs. Naviance also includes self-paced lessons for students in grades 6-12 to take within the platform, with an emphasis on understanding financial aid and how to pay for college.

Unified Classroom® Naviance CCLR offers a variety of career exploration tools including work-based learning, where students can access real-world career learning experiences, such as internships, job shadows, career fairs, externships, and apprenticeships. Additionally, students have access to Career Cluster Finder, which helps students identify specific career clusters that match their interests.

More information, additional results, and insights about the 2022 Naviance Student Survey can be found at https://www.powerschool.com/whitepaper/2022-naviance-student-survey-report/.

PowerSchool and FourPoints Education Partners will be hosting a webinar on January 31, 2023, to discuss the results of the 2022 Naviance Student Survey and how the data can inform schools’ approaches to postsecondary planning. To register, please visit https://www.powerschool.com/webinar/2022-naviance-student-survey/.

About PowerSchool

PowerSchool (NYSE: PWSC) is the leading provider of cloud-based software for K-12 education in North America. Its mission is to power the education ecosystem with unified technology that helps educators and students realize their full potential, in their way. PowerSchool connects students, teachers, administrators, and parents, with the shared goal of improving student outcomes. From the office to the classroom to the home, it helps schools and districts efficiently manage state reporting and related compliance, special education, finance, human resources, talent, registration, attendance, funding, learning, instruction, grading, assessments and analytics in one unified platform. PowerSchool supports over 45 million students globally and more than 15,000 customers, including over 90 of the top 100 districts by student enrollment in the United States, and sells solutions in over 90 countries. Visit www.powerschool.com to learn more.

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