Connecting students to a diverse education ecosystem

Student with backpack and book outside of school

We want students to feel inspired about what awaits them after high school. We believe students should be able to access tools and resources that can help them unlock their future.

So how can we continue to evolve our products to reflect what students need? It’s a question we often ask ourselves at BigFutureTM.

BigFuture College Search recently expanded to include almost 800 new Career and Technical Education (CTE) school profiles, making a direct investment toward that aim.

Discovering a passion that can become a profession is often a first step for students, and most students have indicated they want more career exploration in high school. But education is a critical factor for attaining a successful career. By 2027, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, 70% of jobs will require education or training beyond high school. Yet, in a recent survey with Morning Consult for College Board, 47% of students thought a high school diploma was sufficient.

“In the U.S., we offer one of the most diverse higher education ecosystems in the world,” says Anne M. Houtman, president of Earlham College and Earlham School of Religion. “Public, private, liberal arts, community college. We have such a rich infrastructure, and we’re not getting the message across to help students understand the number of opportunities.”

College Search was designed to elevate that message by helping students plan for their education after high school. Students don’t need all the answers now, but they do need access to information that can lead to an informed decision later.

“As a first-generation college student, I had few tools to help me be successful,” says Houtman about her own experience. “You were so reliant on family or teachers or people like paid college counselors and advisers. But there are so many paths to lifelong learning, and every path is different. The more ways we can help move students along early on their path, the better."

One way to do that is to provide a way for students to explore all their options in one place. The result? More programs are seen as viable options for students when they’re evaluating their educational opportunities. At a time when most students are considering multiple paths to the career of their dreams, this need is urgent.

Students using BigFuture College Search can now discover more than 4,400 institutions that represent 4-year programs, certification programs, and 2-year postsecondary schools across the private and public spectrumall in one place. As more students engage, we can continue to improve the offering.

“[You’re] making these decisions at a young, impressionable age. Offering these different ways to kick off the journey can only help,” says Houtman. “Every time we have a student fail, we fail. How can we help students ask themselves 'What am I ready for now’? That changes over time, but we should be thinking about that at every level.”

Postsecondary education matters, and our tools can help students navigate an evolving landscape.

“We have complex, sticky problems out there. The more we can help students reach their fullest potential, the more we help solve those big problems,” Houtman shares. “College Board has been an important part of that, and it continues to be by offering opportunities like this.”