The vast majority of Bexley High School's graduates are heading off to college each fall, most attending either their first or second choice of institution.
But once they get there, a number are not staying long enough to earn their diploma -- a statistic Bexley school officials would like to see improve.
According to Stephanie Krosnosky, Bexley's high school counselor, 86 percent of last year's graduates are currently attending a four-year college this fall; 10 percent are going to a two-year college; 1.8 percent are going the route of a gap year program; and less than 1 percent entered the military.
"It was a typical year for us, at least in the seven years I have been in Bexley," Krosnosky said.
Krosnosky also reported that according to a student exit survey, 83 percent of last year's graduates reported they would be attending their first or second choice college. While pleased with the statistic, she said she still would like to improve on that number.
Once students get to college though, be it a two-year or four-year institution, not everyone is able to make it through as planned.
New student tracking data obtained by the district indicates that in 2006, 82 percent of BHS graduates attended four-year colleges and 8 percent went to a two-year institution. Once there, an average of 60.8 percent graduated within six years. Broken down, Krosnosky said 50 percent of graduating males who went off to college completed their two- or four-year degree, while 69.3 percent of the females who set out for a two- or four-year college stuck around long enough to turn their tassel.
Even though those numbers are higher than the national average, Krosnosky said Bexley students can do better, with more emphasis by the district on teaching students resiliency skills, positive reactions to setbacks and resolutions for financial issues.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, a national average of 63.8 percent of high school graduates last year went on to college. According to a study by the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2011, 56 percent of college students completed their four-year degree within six years. And only 29 percent of those who start a two-year degree finish them within three years.
A similar report by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development indicated that only 46 percent of students completed college once they started.
Bexley school officials were startled to learn that less than 40 percent of African-American students graduating from BHS finished their college education. According to data from the U.S. Department of Education, Bexley's numbers are slightly lower than the national average of 42.
That's why the district has launched a Success for All program meant to gather African-American families of seventh- through 12th-graders to discuss diversity within Bexley City Schools. The district also hopes to understand why less than half of the district's African-American graduates who go off to college never graduate.
All in all, 173 different colleges accepted Bexley students last year. Bexley's 2012 graduates settled on a total of 75 different colleges to attend.