The Higher Education Research Institute of The University of California at Los Angeles conducts an annual survey of freshmen who attend four year colleges. Numbers from the survey reveal the Fall 2008 admission season was unusual. It was a record year for the number of students applying to colleges. 60.1% (up from 56.4 % in 2007) applied to four or more colleges for admission.
But, the number of freshmen who attended the college that was their first choice was down to 60.7%, a 34-year low. More students in 2008 turned down their first-choice college to go to another institution—17.1% in 2007 versus 16.5 % in 2008. 43% of students surveyed said financial aid offers influenced their decision about which college to attend, a number that represents the highest percentage yet since this question has been asked.
In fact, finances in 2008 seemed to affect the college experience for freshmen with 49.4% planning to get a part-time job to cover expenses, again more than at any time since the question has been asked. As the survey was taken in August and September of 2008, before the economic downturn really hit, imagine how important it may be to apply in the fall of 2009 to colleges that have good loan programs, lower costs, and a financial aid package that offers more grants than loans.
This information was taken from Eric Hoover’s article “Freshman Views: Politics, Admission, and Marijuana” from the January 2009 issue of The Chronicle for High Education.