You belong here

College readiness is not just about academic skills. Navigating admissions, financial aid and course selection involves acquired know-how. So does understanding that dropping out of a college class or receiving a poor grade can jeopardize financial aid and the college trajectory.

Perhaps the biggest hurdle for college success is what we call personal readiness. Adult students need to get their lives and psyche ready for college. Carving out the time and support system is no small feat. College readiness will be for naught if a voice inside keeps saying, “I’m not college material. I don’t belong here.” Instructors and mentors must guide the quieting of this voice by fostering, “I am a learner — I belong here.”

It’s in our self-interest to do better than meeting the educational needs of only five percent of low-skilled adults. Employers need to invest in upgrading front-line workers’ skills. More than 80 percent of the projected 2026 workforce is already out of school and working. If we don’t invest in adult education, the United States will keep falling further behind countries that know their prosperity and competitiveness depend on educating adults as well as children.