Feb 5, 2010

Most Freshmen Admitted To ‘First-Choice’ Colleges but Fewer Attend

Although most freshman report being admitted, far fewer are actually attending their “first-choice” colleges according to the CIRP Freshman Survey, UCLA’s annual report on first-year students at 297 four-year colleges and universities. Of nearly 220,000 freshmen surveyed, 79 percent reported being accepted while only 61 percent are attending colleges labeled as first-choice among those to which they applied.

Possible explanations for the lower number of students attending first-choice colleges may be found in answers to questions related to finances. For top reasons described as “very important” in selecting the college attended, 12 percent reported not being able to afford their first choice and 9 percent were not offered aid.

In addition, 67 percent of the students surveyed indicated having “major or some concern” about paying for college, and more than half said that a very important factor in choosing to attend their college was that graduates got good jobs. Future employment is clearly on the minds of this year’s freshman class as a record high reported having unemployed fathers (4.5 percent) and over 78 percent list being “very well off” financially as an essential or very important goal.

Other interesting facts about this year’s freshman class:

• 53% applied to 4 or fewer colleges
• 16% applied to 8 or more colleges
• 68% took at least one Advanced Placement test
• 56% volunteered frequently in high school
• 30% estimate their parents earn less than $50,000
• 12% estimate family income over $200,000
• 35% are attending colleges within 50 miles of home
• 14% attend colleges more than 500 miles away from home
• 53% are borrowing money to attend college
• 7% are undecided about their majors

For more information or to order a copy of the report, visit the Higher Education Research Institute website.

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