21 Statistics You Should Know About Getting Into College
21 Statistics You Should Know About Getting Into College

21 Statistics You Should Know About Getting Into College

Are you planning on going to college? Maybe you are applying this upcoming fall. Well, here are some interesting and important stats to help you think about going to college.

College Enrollment Stats

  • College enrollment reached 19.7 million in 2020 (Source: National Center for Education Statistics)
  • 6.5 million students were in 4-year institutions (Source: National Center for Education Statistics)

College enrollment has decreased since 2019. Less Americans have been going to college in the post-pandemic world.

Admissions Rates vary greatly

  • The college acceptance rate across the country is 68% (https://research.com/education/list-of-college-acceptance-rates)
  • Harvard’s acceptance rate in 2023 was only 3.45% (https://www.ivywise.com/ivywise-knowledgebase/admission-statistics/)
  • The two top UC schools ( UCLA and UC Berkeley) tend to hover between 8% to 12% acceptance rates. (https://www.ivywise.com/ivywise-knowledgebase/admission-statistics/)
  • Top Ivy League schools such as Princeton (4.5%), Yale (4.5%), and UPenn (5.8%) tend to have very competitive acceptance rates.(https://www.ivywise.com/ivywise-knowledgebase/admission-statistics/)

What does this mean for you? Bear in mind that the highly prestigious schools have low acceptance rates and gear your strategy with that in mind. You can hedge against this by both applying to more colleges and applying to safety schools as well.

What GPA range do you need to get in?

  • As per the National Center for Education Statistics, average high school GPAs have soared to nearly 3.5. However, most prestigious colleges require a GPA in the range of 3.75 to 4.00.

While you should do everything you can to maximize your GPA (including taking AP courses), other factors such as letters of recommendation, extracurricular activities, and standardized test scores can help your cause.

Standardized test scores (ACT and SAT)

  • Average ACT scores as of 2023 are 19.5 out of a composite of 36. (https://www.nytimes.com/2023/10/11/us/act-scores-college-admissions.html)
  • Average SAT scores as of 2023 are 1028 according to College Board.

While many universities have gone “test-optional,” a great test on either the SAT or ACT can help you get into the college of your dreams. For prestigious universities, it is best that you aim for at least 1400 on the SAT or at least 30 on the ACT.

AP Tests

  • College Board reports that in 2021, more than 2.8 million students took AP exams. Out of these, approximately 1.3 million students, or around 46%, scored a 3 or higher, a score often needed to secure college credit.

Taking AP courses signals to colleges that you are willing to take on challenging courses. Scoring a 3 or higher lets them know you can handle college-level courses while you are still in high school. So make sure you take a few AP courses.

Extracurricular Activities

  • A National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) survey reveals that approximately 92% of colleges attach importance to a student’s participation in extracurricular activities during the admissions process.

Gender and College

  • As of fall 2021, 58% of college students in the U.S. were women. (https://nces.ed.gov/)
  • Gender disparity exists across majors. In 2020, 57% of Bachelor’s degrees in the biological and biomedical sciences were awarded to women but males received 79% of bachelors in engineering. (https://nces.ed.gov/)
  • Humanities-based majors tend to have more female students whereas STEM majors continue to have more male students.

Majors in College

  • According to the National Center for Education Statistics, as of 2019, of all Bachelor’s degree recipients in the United States, the most popular majors were in the fields of Business (19%), Health Professions (12%), and Social Sciences and History (9%). The selection of majors has remained consistent over the years.

Cost of College

  • The average cost of tuition for the 2019-2020 year was $36,880 at private colleges, $10,440 for state residents at public colleges, and $26,820 for out-of-state students at state schools. (collegeboard.com)
  • . Adding room and board, the total comes to $49,870 at private colleges and $21,950 at state institutions. (collegeboard.com)
  • College Board and others expect the cost of college to continue rising. Average tuition cost in 2024: Many expect private colleges to charge an average of $40,000 in tuition and fees, and public colleges to charge in-state students about $11,500 and out-of-state students around $29,000. Room and board costs are also expected to increase.
  • Student loan debt according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York is over $1.75 trillion with over 44 million borrowers.

With the rising cost of college and an ever-increasing number of Americans in debt, you should carefully keep costs in mind when applying. And apply for scholarships!

International Students

  • According to the 2020 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange, over 1 million international students were enrolled in U.S. institutions in the 2019-2020 academic year, contributing $44 billion to the economy.
  • 50% of international students come from China and India

As you can see, getting into (and going to) your dream college involves many factors. These include your GPA, extracurricular activities, standardized test scores, and the type of coursework taken. You also need to think about other factors such as majors available, location, and cost.

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