Bright Spots in Post-Secondary Success: OneGoal

By Brooke Flowers 1 year ago

Many Paths, One Goal

Why this Metro Atlanta education nonprofit is rethinking life after high school graduation

Four years of college, or bust. That used to be OneGoal’s way of thinking. Heck, it even used to be my way of thinking. After all, I was ranked third in my high school class; served as class president; had completed college classes in high school. So it’s probably safe to say I was always college-bound (Go, Blue Devils!).

And now, as the executive director for OneGoal – Metro Atlanta, an education nonprofit, college is even more top of mind. In fact, our mission is to close the college degree divide among students from low-income communities and their peers in high-income communities.

But we also recognize that college isn’t one-size-fits-all. In fact, there are many valued options for our students following high school graduation — from four-year colleges to trade schools and everything in between. We believe that every young person deserves an equitable opportunity to achieve their greatest post-secondary aspiration and we’re determined to help make that possible.

Conversations have certainly become more strategic than when I was in high school as some institutions have begun leveraging tools that help students identify where they’re most likely to get in based upon academic performance indicators like GPA and standardized test scores.

But in order to better position all of our students to be empowered consumers of the myriad opportunities available, the conversation must shift from match, which institutions are aligned with the quantitative components of an academic profile, to match AND fit, which institutions provide what you need for the qualitative aspects of a student’s identity – extracurriculars, distance from family, support services.

Identifying where students can establish a deeper connection to a community outside of just course rigor is critical for fostering post-secondary completion, not just acceptance and enrollment.

So, in order to close the degree divide and help our students attain their highest aspirations, we’re enhancing our student-facing tools. Tools that will help will help students accomplish the following: identify their desired match and fit criteria; create a dynamic “shortlist” of institutions and chosen criteria in an easy to digest view, and gain immediate insights via automated alerts based on what we know to be important in creating “best-fit lists.”

By 2020, 60% of jobs in Georgia will require some type of postsecondary degree or credential. By 2023, OneGoal aspires to empower approximately 2500 Metro Atlanta students with the ability to seize one or more of these jobs by leveraging our tools – tools designed to ensure all Metro Atlanta students know what viable pathway(s) exist to help them prepare for those opportunities. Join our efforts today and help create a more dynamic and diverse workforce for our communities.

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  Post-Secondary Success
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