Top Ten Dream Schools

Applications are stressssssss-ful.

Infographic demonstrating average stress of applying to college

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.

Current ACT or SAT more preferred than forthcoming new SAT

Infographic comparing popularity of ACT, old SAT, and new SAT

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.

Biggest worry? Debt.

Infographic showing average debt resulting from a college degree

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.

Average cost for a degree.

Infographic comparing average cost of tuition between public and private schools

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'.

Main benefit of college? Jobs.

Infographic showing the most popular expected results of a college degree

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.