College and Career Planning in K-12
The North Carolina State Board of Education requires schools to provide college and career planning to middle grades and high school students but do not designate specific activities or timelines. The University of North Carolina System administers a statewide, federally funded GEAR UP program, which targets school districts with high poverty and low college-going rates. The goal of the program is to increase the number of high school graduates who enroll in college and complete a degree or certificate. GEAR UP North Carolina provides tutoring, mentoring, academic planning, financial aid planning, college tours and professional development, as well as resources for Spanish-speaking students and parents. The North Carolina Mathematics and Science Education Network Pre-College Program prepares students for careers in science, technology , engineering and math (STEM) fields. The program offers academic enrichment for students grade six through 12 with Saturday academies, summer programs, and leadership training and career activities. Coordinators hold parent seminars to help students and families prepare for college.
North Carolina also offers the Early Mathematics Placement Testing (NC EMPT) Program to reduce the percentage of students entering college requiring remediation. NC EMPT provides a diagnostic test that is similar to the math placement tests currently given at state colleges and universities. Students enrolled in Math II and any upper-level high school math courses are eligible to participate. Students receive individualized test results that provide a snapshot of current readiness for college-level courses for each student’s chosen major at his or her first-choice college or university. The College Foundation of North Carolina (CFNC) is a statewide Web portal that helps students plan, apply and pay for college. The online portal serves as a one-stop shop for students to explore careers, save course information, track academic progress, and apply for financial aid.