The College Puzzle Blog
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Dr. Michael W. Kirst

Michael W. Kirst is Professor Emeritus of Education and Business Administration at Stanford University since 1969.
Dr. Kirst received his Ph.D. in political economy and government from Harvard. Before joining the Stanford University faculty, Dr. Kirst held several positions with the federal government, including Staff Director of the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Manpower, Employment and Poverty. He was a former president of the California State Board of Education. His book From High School to College with Andrea Venezia was published by Jossey Bass in 2004.

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My blog discusses the important and complex subjects of college completion, college success, student risk factors (for failing), college readiness, and academic preparation. I will explore the pieces of the college puzzle that heavily influence, if not determine, college success rates.

Beyond Access: How the First Semester Matters for Community College Students' Aspirations and Persistence

A new PACE Policy Brief by Anne Driscoll of the University of California at Davis explains why California must do more than expand access to community college if our state is to prepare the workforce needed to remain economically competitive in the 21st century.

Beyond Access: How the First Semester Matters for Community College Students' Aspirations and Persistence shows that fewer than half of the young high school graduates who entered California community colleges with the goal of transferring to four-year colleges in 1998 made it through their first semester with their goals intact. One quarter of these young people did not return for the second semester, and barely half of those who returned still planned to transfer to four-year schools. Approximately 40 percent of those who aspired to transfer to four-year colleges when they entered community college ultimately achieved their goal. Driscoll's analysis illuminates the decisive importance of the first semester in students' post-secondary academic careers, and suggests that providing additional guidance and support to students as they enter college for the first time could yield big dividends in terms of student persistence and eventual transfer.

Download the new Policy Brief http://pace.berkeley.edu/reports/PB.07-2.pdf.

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