Beyond High School

What It Means to be “Future Ready”

What does it take to be ready for life after high school?

Being ready for anything means having the right equipment and tools to succeed. Think of an athlete who need to know when to make certain plays, or a musician who needs to be able to read notes, or a builder who needs architectural plans before construction gets underway.

That’s how it works for a student getting ready for college and a career, too. Being ready means he or she will walk into a college classroom, job site or a training program with the tools to tackle almost anything, from day one.

What are the secrets for success? Massachusetts educators revealed them when they created the state’s first-ever Definition of College and Career Readiness. Approved by the Board of Elementary & Secondary Education and the Board of Higher Education in early 2013, the definition identifies three things – what students know, how they work and how they think – that define their readiness to succeed after high school. These three skill sets are needed by all students - no matter which college or career they choose. And the good news is, once you know what they need, you can help any student move forward.

Use the College and Career Readiness Definition checklist below to help your student become Future Ready.

I.  Future Ready Students Have Knowledge – for College & Beyond

Future Ready students show they have the right mix of academic knowledge and skills from the classroom. In English and in math, they have the knowledge they need to understand what’s taught in college courses or training programs.

Future Ready students can:


Read and understand a wide variety of fiction, nonfiction and other reading materials

Write clearly and use sources to make their points

 Research and create presentations that communicate new ideas


 Solve problems from algebra, statistics and/or technical/workforce training courses or programs

 Explain why the answer to a problem is the right one – and how they solve it

 Use math modeling to solve real-world problems and scenarios

II.  Future Ready Students Know How to Get the Job Done

In addition to classroom knowledge, there’s a combination of skills and knowledge that will help students succeed in the workplace. To move on to a career, students need to know what to do, how to act, and when to troubleshoot at work – no matter what situations come up.

Future Ready students are:

 On time everyday for work/school – and dressed appropriately  

 Motivated to finish each task and learn from helpful criticism

 Prepared to follow the rules of the workplace/school, including policies on ethics, culture and safety

 Able to work well in teams and to listen, speak confidently and communicate with co-workers in writing

III.  Future Ready Students Think Big

Future Ready students use what they learned in the classroom and workplace to “think big” – to analyze situations, solve problems and take on more complicated work, either on the job or in a college course.

Future Ready students are:

 Able to think critically and creatively to tackle big assignments

 Motivated to learn, curious enough to explore ideas on their own, and bold enough to ask for help when needed

 Able to analyze situations, form opinions, and decide how to move forward