Nearly 2 million US students began their first year at a four-year college this fall – are you hoping to join them next year? Here are some simple stats – along with insights from Jonathan Stroud, Dean of Admissions at Cornell College, about the latest the class of 2014 that will help you compare your own profile to successful applicants.
What are the odds? Thirty-eight percent of college applicants applied to 3 schools or less; 22 % applied to more than 6.
At the top schools the average acceptance rate was 9% for the class of 2014. At these schools having the best of everything helps. More than 22 percent of the incoming class at Princeton had SAT scores above 2300; nearly 15% of the incoming class had a perfect 4.00 GPA. But the most significant factor was that 95.2% of the class had grades in the top 10% of their graduating high school classes. All three of the top ivies let in folks with a range of SAT scores -- some in the lowest 25 percentile.
“The common denominator among more competitive applicants for admission is a record of academic achievement or at least compelling evidence of intellectual curiosity,” said Stroud.
What classes are best? More than 67% of students admitted this year took at least one AP course – with 60% taking the exam. Forty percent of college-bound seniors took AP English and 32% took AP Math. Only 19% took an AP language – popular choices were Spanish, German, French, Japanese and Mandarin. Speaking of testing – based on stats alone it turns about that practice does improve your test scores. Students that took the PSAT during their junior and sophomore year scored an average of 70 points higher on the actual SAT in 2008.
Stroud pointed out that it wasn’t just challenging classes and high scores on tests that made this year’s incoming class stand out. “At a time when many colleges are reporting greater student interest in career preparation Cornell is witnessing increased student concern about the environment as well as political and economic issues,” he said.
In fact, 60% of incoming freshman occasionally or frequently did community service during their senior year of high school. So if you’re not already involved in your community, think about how you can give back.
Show me the money – some stats on financial aid.
Seventy-nine percent of those students admitted this year got into their top choice school, however only 60 % attended their first choice, often for financial reasons. The second most important reason for selecting a particular school cited by students was the cost of attending. The first was school reputation. Nearly 67% of incoming students had some or major concerns about affording college.
“During a depressed economy students and families tend to apply to more colleges; shopping for affordability and quality,” Stroud says. “