Education

Which high school grads go to college? These Sacramento schools send the most students

About two thirds of students who finish high school in the Sacramento region attend a two- or four-year college within a year of graduation, but college-going rates vary dramatically by school, according to California Department of Education data.

Among the roughly 17,700 graduates in the four-county area who quickly went to college after the 2017-18 school year, almost 60 percent went to a community college, nearly 20 percent went to a CSU campus, and 8 percent went to a UC campus. The rest went to a private or out-of-state college.

Not surprisingly, schools located in wealthier areas are much more likely to send a higher proportion of graduates to college. The high schools with the highest college-going rates were in Granite Bay, Rocklin and Folsom. College-attendance rates at private institutions such as Jesuit High School in Arden-Arcade are not included in the data.

But some schools in economically disadvantaged areas punch above their weight, particularly Sacramento Charter High and West Campus, both located in South Sacramento.

Other highlights from the state data:

  • Davis, Natomas Charter and Sacramento Charter sent the highest proportion of grads to University of California campuses.
  • Sacramento Charter, West Campus and Monterey Trail sent the highest proportion of grads to California State University campuses.
  • Natomas Pacific Pathways Prep, Whitney and Center sent the highest proportion of grads to California community colleges.
  • Western Sierra Collegiate, Oak Ridge and Granite Bay sent the highest proportion of grads to in-state, private campuses.
  • Del Oro, Oak Ridge and Granite Bay sent the highest proportion of grads to out-of-state campuses.

The California Department of Education data is drawn from two sources. First, high schools must tell the state which students graduate. Second, the National Student Clearinghouse collects enrollment data from public and private colleges throughout the nation. CDE uses student-level data to match those two datasets and come up with a college-going rate.

Phillip Reese is a data specialist at The Sacramento Bee and an assistant professor of journalism at Sacramento State. His journalism has won the George Polk and Worth Bingham awards, and he was a finalist for the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting.
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