For many rural students, higher education means waking up before the sun four days a week, then driving an hour through cornfields or pine forests to reach the only college for 100 miles.

It’s a far cry from the awkward parental drop-off, search for elusive twin XL sheets and Olivia Rodrigo wall poster most people associate with the back-to-college season.

For the more than 33 million people living in education deserts, college-going can be a drastically different experience. In addition to long commutes, homesickness and culture shock, many students arrive underprepared in key subjects like math and science.

Read the full article about barriers to higher education for rural students by Alyssa Ratledge at The Hechinger Report.