Focused College Freshmen Have Their Careers In Mind

Written by  //  01/28/2013  //  College News  //  1 Comment

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College students are serious about their career aspirations with college freshmen articulating their resolve in a recently published CIRP Freshman Survey. The UCLA survey, conducted annually, is administered by that university’s Higher Education Research Institute, part of its Graduate School of Education and Information Studies.

Economic Influence

The current survey revealed that two-thirds of college freshmen chose their school based on current economic conditions, up four points from two years ago. The first-year students believe that attending college is their path “to be able to get a better job” with 87.9 percent agreeing with that statement. “To make more money” was also given as an important reason for attending college with nearly three-quarters of the students surveyed agreeing with that statement.

“Students have figured out that increased lifetime earnings result from a college education,” said Sylvia Hurtado, director of HERI. “It is important to continue to encourage a long-term view of the benefits of college in this recovering economy.”

First Choice

Affording college continues to present a challenge for today’s students with 13.4 percent of freshmen noting that they weren’t able to attend their first-choice institution in 2012 up from 9.4 percent in 2006 when that subject was first addressed. These days, 59.3 percent of college students are attending their first-choice college or university, down from the 75 percent levels attained three to four decades ago.

This year, the HERI survey posed a new question in an attempt to gauge how long students would take to get their degree. Some 83.4 percent stated that they planned to graduate with their class, a level of optimism that flies in the face of current realities. Indeed, just 40.6 percent of college students are graduating within four years these days.

“There is a large mismatch between students’ expectations and the reality of time to college completion,” said John H. Pryor, lead author of the report and director of CIRP. “Given the increasing number of students concerned about college affordability and the significant cost of adding an extra year of college, students could benefit from a better understanding of individual college graduation rates.”

Financial Security

The HERI survey revealed some additional important data about today’s college freshmen. For one, student acceptance at their first-choice college came in at 76.7 percent, but just 59.3 percent of college freshmen are attending that school. Students also said that, “being well off financially” is important to them with 81 percent concurring with that statement.

Nearly 200,000 first-year students from 283 colleges and universities were surveyed, with HERI statistically weighing the results to reflect 1.5 million college freshman attending 1,613 colleges and universities in 2012.

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