Here are some impediments:
Dr. Hurd said she did not understand why more than 90 percent of Ms. Hadley’s students had applied to college, but only about half had submitted federal financial aid forms.The FAFSA form can be really intimidating to some families.
Some parents are embarrassed to reveal their incomes or suspicious of authority and what will become of their private information. Family strife also gets in the way. “A lot of the kids are in really funky living situations, and they haven’t decided whether they want to reach out to their parents,” she said.
Some of her students are much brighter than their low scores on standardized tests like the ACT suggest, Ms. Hadley said. But colleges judge schools by the numbers, and with only a handful of high-scoring students, Hobbton does not attract many college recruiters.
“I get it,” she said. “I don’t have anybody with more than a 30 on the ACT this year.
It’s still hard to get kids options when they didn’t blow it out of the water on the ACT.”A 26 is the 83rd percentile, a 30 is the 95th percentile. I witnessed a kid from this kind of background go from a 27 to a 30 when I encouraged him to self-study a test prep book for two weeks before retaking the ACT. Back when I was in high school, the idea of putting in 80 hours of test prep would have seemed outlandish, if anybody had suggested it, but Tiger Mothers think in terms of orders of magnitude more test prep hours.
But, she added, “How do you get from a 26 to a 30 when you can’t afford test prep?” It is difficult to get students to attend test-prep sessions at school, and free online services do not work well on mobile phones, she said.