Most parents dream that their children will go to college — but they don’t necessarily consider how the children will perform in college once they get there.

As this infographic makes clear, an alarming number of students aren’t prepared for college: nearly 20 percent of students attending four-year colleges must take remedial courses to catch up, according to Complete College America. At community colleges, the number is even higher: 43 percent of students sign up for at least one remedial course, a report by the College Board found.

Why does this matter?

Students who take a remedial course are far less likely to complete college than students who don’t need remediation, according to experts. In fact, only 56 percent of all students attending college get a bachelor’s degree within six years (only 28 percent of students at two-year colleges earn an associate degree within three years). There are many reasons students fail to complete college, of course, but experts believe that the cost — both financial and emotional — of not being prepared plays a significant role.

What’s the answer? Clearly, students need to be better prepared for college, and boosting college readiness is one of the goals of new K-12 education standards, known as Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Find out more about the Common Core State Standards and learn GreatSchools’ position on the Common Core.

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Updated: January 19, 2017