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Every year, we survey college applicants and their parents about their perspective on the admissions process. We ask about their dream schools, their biggest challenges, and what factors into their search for the schools that will fit them best. Check out some of our key findings below and download the full survey report.
Download the full survey report as a PDF.
Findings for our 2015 survey are based on responses from 12,062 people: 9,650 college applicants and 2,412 parents of applicants. They came from across America, representing all 50 states and DC. Some replied from countries abroad.
New York University
University of California, Los Angeles
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
University of Pennsylvania
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
University of Notre Dame
73% of respondents gauged their stress levels as High or Very high — a 17% increase over the 56% who reported such stress levels in the survey's initial year, 2003. Students reported higher stress levels than parents.
Asked which college admission test they'd prefer to take (or see their child take) if each of these were current options: the ACT, SAT, or new SAT (which won't debut until spring 2016), 39% said the ACT, 37% said the SAT, and 24% said the new SAT.
39% (the plurality) said their biggest concern was Level of debt to pay for the degree. For 35% their biggest worry was Will get into first-choice college, but won’t have sufficient funds/aid to attend. Given the $28,400 average debt of 2013 college grads, these concerns are understandable. In 2009, the answer most selected was Won't get in to first-choice college.
Level of debt to pay for the degree.
Will get into first-choice college, but won’t have sufficient funds/aid to attend.
Won't get in to first-choice college.
87% estimated their degree to cost More than $50,000. Within that cohort, 42% said More than $100,000. Parents' estimates were higher than students'.
More than $50,000.
More than $100,000.
51% said the biggest benefit of a degree was a Potentially better job / income while 24% said the Education and 25% said Exposure to new ideas.
Potentially better job / income
Exposure to new ideas.