Fall 2023 proved to be a windfall for the Montana University System. According to the latest headcount, enrollment hit its highest point since the COVID-19 pandemic, reaching 42,010 students.

The University of Montana alone enrolled 10,327 students at its main campus. Missoula College had its largest freshman class since 2016. As the graph illustrates, over the past decade, 37,283 Montana high schoolers decided to pursue a postsecondary education in-state immediately following graduation.

Another 13,214 students will enroll in Montana colleges and universities the next four years.

In this 4th article in our 12-part series, the question we want to explore is how well Montana high schools are preparing graduating 12th graders for success in college.

Signing up for a marathon is not the same as being ready to cross the finish line. Likewise, enrolling in a postsecondary institution that will accept your tuition is not the same as being ready to complete a 2- or 4-year degree.

To help us determine if Montana high schools are preparing college-bound graduates, we will examine three key areas.

  1. Montana High Schoolers
  2. Statewide ACT Scores
  3. Freshman Readiness for College Courses

By examining these points in order, we will ground our review in the realities of Montana secondary education for students in grades 9-12. With this context, we can better understand if the Treasure State is graduating students ready for college coursework.