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  • Students are applying to more schools. According to the 2010 Statistical Profile of Freshman survey by the UCLA Higher Education Research Institute, 46% applied to five or more colleges.   The survey also concluded that 87% of first year students enrolled at their 1st or 2nd college choices.
  • The UCLA study indicates that three most popular majors first year students expect to major in are business, professional studies (medicine, health & family) and arts and humanities.
  • to the UCLA Higher Education Research Institute Statistical Profile of Freshman.
  • One college expense that hasn't increased at the same swift rate of tuition is the application fee. This fact, aggressive marketing by schools for students, more selective interests on students' part are possibly reasons why students apply to many more schools than in the past. Another may be the convenience of application methods like the Common Application or on-line applications at a college's internet site. Over 450 schools offer the Common Application ( See College Planning.
  • The college search process, from start to applications, can cost between $600-$2,100 for the student who applies to a half dozen schools. This includes visits to some of the schools of interest. Some up-front research may assist in reducing these costs. See Programs.
  • Is it important that the student have a career plan when entering college? No. Research by the Department of Education shows that 37% of students earning a Bachelors degree changed their major at least once. Many graduates of Ivy League schools are very successful in business. Yet, only two offer a business major. Neither do Stanford nor Duke. Although, Brown University does not have a formal "pre-law" program, 10% of Brown alumni are lawyers. A liberal arts education is designed to allow a student to explore and then decide.
  • All colleges and universities are required by federal law to report and
    maintain public records of campus crimes. Be sure to ask schools that
    interest the student about the school's latest campus crime statistics and
    their prevention programs. You can review a particular school latest
    reporting at the Department of Education website at
  • A study by the National Association of College Admission Counselors, Trends in College Admission, indicates that high school grade average, college admission tests (SAT, ACT) and class rank are considered the most important factors in the admissions decision. Demonstrated interest by the student has gained in relative importance as a "tie-breaker".
  • According to a Wall Street Journal article , although several schools have announced discontinuing their "early admissions" programs, many others have "redoubled their commitment to early admission".  Some have instituted fast-track and "instant decision" application policies.  Other schools send "snap apps" to students who might not have applied, but whom the school has researched with data from search services like the College Board.
  • Over three-quarters of schools indicate having a formal policy regarding the evaluation of applications from home schooled students.
  • The College Board reports a 20% increase in schools using wait lists as part of their admission policies in the past five years. Many schools use this method to manage the growth in applications and the trend of students to apply to more colleges than before.
  • Paying for college: how people do it today. Primarily loans. 54% of financial aid in the past academic year is loans. Grants represent 39%.
  • Student loans have become such an accepted element of financial aid that most schools include the fees for the federal student loans as part of their "cost of attendance" calculation. All the more reason to shop around for lenders of education loans.  Since spring of 2010, the Federal Government has assumed responsibility for disbursing all government loans, removing private lenders from the Stafford and Plus loan programs.     

    However, there are lenders who offer education loans to cover any "unmet need" over the Stafford Loan limits.  Private lenders also offer loans programs that are competitive with the PLUS Loan. See Paying for College.

  • Financial aid awards for a student can vary from school to school for seemingly no reason. For example, a student accepted to American University, receives over $24,000 in aid, while Northeastern University awards her a only Stafford Loan of $2,650. Same student, same family financial profile. Guess where she enrolled!

  • Is college worth it? The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that a bachelors degree is worth over $1 million more than a high school diploma over an adult's working life.
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