New high school graduates who choose to work for a year or two before entering college may be kidding themselves. According to a survey by the National Center for Education Statistics, reported in the June issue of Numbers News, their chances of eventually earning a college degree are considerably lessened.
In 1980, the center surveyed 15,000 high school sophomores about their educational plans. In a 1992 follow-up of the same respondents, it found that 40% of those who enrolled in college immediately after high school had earned a bachelor's degree. But of those who delayed entry, only 9% had finished their baccalaureates.
The survey also found that high school students' expectations are good predictors of future schooling. Among sophomores with no plans for higher education, for example, only 1% had earned college degrees by 1992. By contrast, 51% of those planning to attend college had gotten bachelor's degrees.