If last year's Lawrence High School graduates followed through on plans made last spring, a majority of them are now attending a four-year college or university, says a state report being prepared this month.
According to the Kansas Department of Education, 64.3 percent of 1990 LHS graduates said they planned to attend a four-year college or university. Statewide, 42.6 percent of 1990 graduates said they planned to go on to a four-year school.
The results of the state survey were similar to results of a survey of the 1990 LHS senior class conducted by the Journal-World. In that survey, a total of 67 percent of the seniors who responded said they planned to go on to a four-year college or university. Of those planning to go to a four-year school, 39 percent planned to go to KU.
REPORTS FROM previous years show that 50 percent of 1988 LHS graduates and 26.8 percent of 1989 graduates had similar goals. However, the figures on 1989 graduates are questionable, said Mike Browning, LHS supervisor of student services.
The state's report is based on a questionnaire given to LHS seniors at the end of the school year. Browning said many 1989 graduates 23.6 percent checked the "miscellaneous" category on the questionnaire because they were unsure of their post-high school plans. However, he said, many of those students probably went on to attend four-year schools.
Browning's doubts are supported by the results of J-W surveys of LHS seniors in 1988 and 1989. The surveys showed that about 63 percent of seniors in 1989 and about 65 percent of seniors in '88 said they planned to go on to a four-year school.
GARY WATSON, an education department research analyst who helps prepare the state report, said the miscellaneous category should be used "only as a last resort if you have no idea if you're going to be doing any of the other proposed activities."
While most 1990 LHS graduates planned to attend four-year schools, 3.2 percent planned to attend two-year colleges, 1.7 percent planned to attend some other post-secondary school, 10.3 percent expected to be employed full time and 1.9 percent planned to enter the military.
The status of 18.6 percent of the students or 99 of the total 532 graduates is unknown, most likely because they did not fill out the questionnaire.
Watson said small school districts might have an easier job of determining the plans of their graduates. Because the questionnaires aren't turned in to the state until September or October, some schools simply call the students in the fall after their senior year to see what they're doing.
"IN SMALLER towns, that wouldn't be too hard to do," he said.
Watson said 25,367 people graduated from Kansas public high schools last year. Of the 10,803 who intended to go to a four-year school, about 85 percent planned to go to a school in Kansas.
Of the LHS graduates planning to attend four-year schools, 70.8 percent said they planned to remain in Kansas. Also, said Arlee Roberts, registrar at LHS, 42.5 percent of all LHS graduates planned to attend Kansas University.
"That's the way it should be if you've got a quality school right here in your home town," Browning said.
As for trends in students' post-secondary plans, Browning said, "I feel that in the last couple years, students are starting to make decisions a little bit earlier."