At 15, Terri-Ann Zweeres is getting a glimpse of what it takes to go to college. While other teens are in study hall, she and about 14 other Bellows Free Academy High School students take a class every three days at Community College of Vermont called introduction to college studies that’s intended to prepare them to go on to higher education.
It’s one of a number of strategies in Vermont to get more students to pursue higher education or training after high school. While students here do well academically compared with other states and the state’s high school graduation rate is the second highest in the country, its rate of those who go onto postsecondary education right out of high school is among the lowest at about 44 percent, state officials said. The rate doesn’t take into account students who take a year off after high school but still officials acknowledge it’s low.
The students who complete the introduction to college studies course earn vouchers to get more college credit. More than three quarters go on to college.
“Those students begin thinking differently about themselves and see that they can be successful,’’ said John Fischer, interim deputy commissioner of the Vermont Department of Education.