Amidst a global pandemic, American teenagers remain steadfast in their belief that higher education plays a key role in their future success; however, the paths they are planning to take after high school differ from previous generations.

In fact, more than half are open to something other than a four-year degree and 70 percent want to follow their own educational path.

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The statistics were uncovered in two national surveys conducted by ECMC Group, a nonprofit corporation focused on helping students succeed, in partnership with VICE Media. The studies, which polled more than 2,200 high schoolers ages 14-18, were conducted Feb. 25-March 2, 2020, and May 14-20, 2020—before and during the pandemic.

“This study shows that today’s students are incredibly resilient and resolute in their desire to forge their own path when it comes to education,” says Jeremy Wheaton, president and CEO of ECMC Group. “It also illustrates that they have a keen understanding of the need for skills-based training and lifelong learning, which are integral to succeeding now and in the future.”

About the Author:

Laura Ascione

Laura Ascione is the Managing Editor, Content Services at eSchool Media. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland's prestigious Philip Merrill College of Journalism. Find Laura on Twitter: @eSN_Laura


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