Inaugural Eduventures® Life After High School Research™ Report Reveals Unique Plans of Today’s Non-College-Bound High School Students

November 14, 2023

New research identifies the very distinct mindsets of high school graduates who say no to college and discusses the implications for supporting these students as they emerge into adulthood.

Boston, MA – November 14, 2023 – Encoura, an industry-leading educational technology organization, announced today the publication of the Eduventures 2023 Life After High School Report. With 38% of high school students choosing not to enroll in college upon graduation, this first annual report explores these students’ unique perspectives, motivations, and goals to help educators and employers engage and support this sizable population as they begin to pursue their goals as adults.

Rather than seeing these students as merely a reflection of their choice not to go to college, recognizing their intentional five-year plans can provide important insights for enrollment leaders, marketers, and employers alike. A deeper look into these postsecondary plans revealed five distinct persona segments, or Life After High School Mindsets™, that can serve as essential drivers of outreach and support strategies.


  1. LIFE BALANCE (37%): My job is important, but I want to travel and have a social life while prioritizing my family.
  2. CAREER FIRST (31%): I want a career and college isn’t a priority; I will continue my education in other ways.
  3. SCHOOL’S OUT (18%): I want a job, but will not pursue any additional education or training in the next 5 years.
  4. COLLEGE LATER (10%): College is in the cards in the next 5 years, just not right now.
  5. DRIVEN TO SERVE (4%): I am going to enlist in military service and might consider college after.

Are certain Mindsets more open to postsecondary education, even if they aren’t pursuing a bachelor’s degree immediately upon graduation? What is the best way to set these students up for success in their post-graduation plans? The Eduventures 2023 Life After High School Research Report pinpoints the preferences and goals of students who choose to pursue alternative pathways post-graduation and delivers recommendations to individuals supporting these students, as well as to higher education institutions.

The report’s findings recommend that individuals and organizations seeking to support students entering adulthood should focus on the areas of career exploration, career planning, training/education, life balance, and financial planning. Colleges and universities can serve these future non-traditional students with strategies that include lower cost professional programs, employer partnerships, community-based student success initiatives, and inclusive campuses.

“Our Life After High School Report is the result of a long-term effort–and core belief–at Encoura to empower all students with the resources, guidance, and intentional engagement to achieve their individual goals. Students who desire to pursue career, family, military, or other goals after high school are equally as deserving of guided pathways to success. I’m proud that we now have the data for institutions and communities to develop effective strategies to support all students,” said Dennis Syracuse, Division President of Encoura.

It’s time to give attention to supporting the large proportion of students who choose not to attend college directly after high school. As Eduventures Principal Analyst and author of the report Kim Reid shared, “Whether or not these students will end up pursuing a bachelor’s degree in the future, important career, life, and financial training is crucial to setting them up for success. This report provides engagement and support strategy areas of focus that will help educational institutions and employers empower these students.”

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