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High schoolers feel unprepared to choose a career or major, report says

Ryan Reed

The American Fork-based company YouScience released its second annual national 2023 Post Graduation Readiness Report and the results reveal a troubling trend.

The YouScience report comes from the results of a survey of more than 500 students from the 2020-2023 high school graduation classes.

YouScience founder and CEO Edson Barton shared what the idea behind this survey was and what can be learned from the report.

“It's really trying to look at students' attitudes as they're getting ready to graduate from school, or they're going through their high school experience, and it's trying to find out, are you finding fulfillment? And are you being directed towards things that will prepare you beyond high school, and seeing where they're at in all of that," Barton said.

The Survey found that of the 2023 graduating class, 45% are pursuing a 4-year college education, which is down 7% compared to graduates from 2019-2022.

Notably, 31% of the most recent graduating class reported they are not sure where they want to be in the education or career path.

Barton said the part of the report that surprises most people is that over two-thirds of the high school population going on to post-secondary education doesn’t feel prepared to choose a career or a major.

“And that I think for a lot of people it's shocking, because even though they're adults that have already gone through this process, when they look back on their preparation and their high school to college transition, they're like, 'Oh, my word, you're absolutely right. I was totally unprepared. I changed my major four times,'" Barton said.

Barton said this report helps people realize how unprepared high school students are to graduate and move forward in a career or education path.

It also helps show why students feel unprepared and what questions or doubts they have, which allows professionals and parents to better know how to help them.

He added that understanding these gaps in understanding and preparation of these students reveals a simple problem that can be fixed.

“Yes, we've missed something really basic. But the fact is, it's a basic fact that we can fix, right?" Barton said. "This isn't something that is systemic, that we're not going to be able to solve with individual students. We know that as we apply the principles of proper direction and guidance, and then connecting them to their future employment that they're going to have. We've seen the increases in performance of students and everything else.”

Caitlin Keith is a general news reporter at UPR. She is from Lindon, Utah and is currently an undergrad student studying print journalism at USU. Caitlin loves to write and tell people’s stories. She is also a writer at the Utah Statesman. She loves to read, ski, play the cello and watch various TV shows.