and persistence. And students often lack information on transfer requirements and what they are likely to experience if they do transfer.
When students gain mentoring from multiple contexts, they are more likely not only to persist in college but to do so in a STEM major, said Packard. “We have a pretty good idea of what we should be investing in,” she said.
Packard highlighted several of the recommendations from her background paper as particularly important to the summit.
First, more students and families need to understand the difference between a technical degree from a career institute and the community college transfer pathway to a four-year STEM degree. They also need to know much more about the STEM careers that are available. Students should be exposed to STEM occupations and learn what they need to do to qualify for those occupations.
Excellent models already exist, Packard observed. Statewide and nationwide, programs have developed coordinated approaches to outreach so that messages from high schools, community colleges, and fouryear institutions are reinforcing. The Advanced Technology Education centers funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF)1 and other programs to broaden participation also have outreach programs in place.
In the area of recruitment, any hands-on program designed to attract students into STEM needs to be paired with academic preparation. Specifically, Packard suggested an expansion in STEM-specific dual-enrollment programs with community colleges or universities while students are in high school in addition to more common outreach and recruitment strategies such as summer enrichment programs. “Summer enrichment programs can enhance interest or get students to take a first course,” said Packard, “but greater academic preparation makes it realistic for them to continue going forward.”
Both honors students and struggling students can benefit from dual-enrollment courses because taking college classes during high school can motivate students to continue their education. In addition, high school students should be able to count their college classes for a
1Additional information is available at http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2011/nsf11692/nsf11692.htm and http://atecenters.org.