Postsecondary exposure refers to programs that help students make decisions, set goals, and succeed after high school by exposing them to postsecondary educational opportunities as well as career options and possibilities.

It includes long-term opportunities such as career academies, internships, and dual enrollment as well as occasional programs like college visits and career days.

Exposure to programs such as internships, career paths, colleges and universities, or technical trainings broaden students’ horizons and help them make informed and purposeful choices in their pathway to adult success.

(Click the above image for a PDF version of the resources on this page)


  • Develop partnerships with area businesses and two- and four-year colleges
  • Coordinate and share efforts between middle and high schools
  • Begin exposure early (ninth and tenth grade in high schools)
  • Identify which members of school staff are responsible for developing post-secondary exposure. Guidance counselors play a key role, but it should not be up to them alone.
  • Seek stakeholder input on career options for special focus (e.g. career academies)
  • Consider such options as the following:

~ Career days
~ Field trips to college campuses
~ Visits from college admissions officers or school alumni attending college
~ Career academies
~ Career and technical education
~ Tech prep
~ Dual enrollment
~ Early college high schools


Beyond College Readiness: College Awareness as a First Step
National Association of State Boards of Education
February 2016
This policy update highlights ways state boards can help augment their states’ college readiness standards with college awareness initiatives. Examples include the states of Washington and Idaho.

Clemson Emerging Scholars Program
Clemson University’s intensive program to provide college access and readiness to students from seven neighboring high schools serving disadvantaged communities. Includes summer on-campus residency weeks and academic year activities as well as visits to numerous regional colleges.

Colleges Discover the Rural Student
Center On Rural Education
January 2017
Article highlights ways colleges/universities, states, and school districts are trying to overcome the geography barrier for students to learn about higher education, recognizing that diversity in geography is as important as diversity in race and ethnicity.


Ramping up for college readiness in Minnesota high schools: Implementation of a schoolwide program
June 2016
This report examines Minnesota’s efforts, Ramp-Up to Readiness, to provide more substantial college readiness supports for middle and high school students by focusing on “five dimensions of college readiness” – academic, admissions, career, financial, and personal-social –to increase students’ likelihood of enrolling and succeeding in college.

Predicting Postsecondary Attendance through Cultural Norming: A Test of Community Expectancy
ERIC (Institute of Education Sciences)
This Arkansas-based study looks at the impact of how community expectancy might influence a student’s decision to attend college.

Preparing High School Students for Successful Transitions to Postsecondary Education and Employment
National High School Center & MDRC
August 2008
Highlights specific opportunities schools can make available for their students to improve students’ preparation for postsecondary success.

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