College Tripwires

Over the 2014-2015 school year, the Student Voice Team conducted an investigation into the barriers high school students face in the transition to college and postsecondary education. We interviewed academics, teachers, policymakers, parents, administrators, and of course, students, across the state to get a better picture of the challenges inherent in the college entrance process.


By combining data about college transitions in Kentucky with authentic voices of students experiencing those transitions firsthand, we hoped to bridge the gap between education policy and practice and stimulate a conversation about what it takes to create a smooth and accessible journey to college for all students. 


The result of months of research and roundtables was Uncovering the Tripwires to Postsecondary Success, a report that highlighted three main barriers to college transitions: the birthright lottery, or the set of socioeconomic and family factors that impact students’ ability to reach and complete college; veiled college costs, many of which start in high school and rise with every year; and college and career unreadiness, or the lack of learned habits and skills to succeed in college. 


An eight part series of student commentaries was released in the Courier Journal in tandem with the report. The series further investigated issues in postsecondary education, from labeling students as “gifted” to college affordability to the high workloads of guidance counselors.