Most High School Seniors Plan to Attend College

April 25, 2003
Most high school seniors last year in the class of 2002 said they planned to attend college, either as full-time or part-time students at four-year or two-year academic institutions, and they reported being admitted to colleges and universities at a higher rate than national admissions rates for those same schools.

These are among the findings of an annual study of the postsecondary plans of high school seniors by the Office of Shared Accountability. The data were gathered in May 2002 from survey responses of 7,426 twelfth graders, representing 83.6 percent of the senior class.

Altogether, 89 percent of the respondents said they planned to attend college. Most planned to attend a four-year college either full-time (64 percent) or part-time (4 percent). Twenty-four percent planned to attend a two-year college either full-time (17 percent) or part-time (7 percent), with some overlap among those who reported plans for both four-year and two-year colleges.

At the time of the survey, 74 percent said they actually had submitted applications to a college. In addition, 23 percent indicated plans to work part-time, with 7 percent planning to work full-time. Four percent also had plans to enter the military.

Among those colleges and universities that received the most applications from last year's high school seniors, students reported acceptance rates that were higher in nearly all cases than the national rates of acceptance for freshmen applicants at those schools. With the exception of one school (Howard University) and open admissions at Montgomery College, the reported acceptance rates for Montgomery County students ranged from one to 35 percentage points higher than the rates nationally at the selected schools.

The two most common destinations were the University of Maryland at College Park and Montgomery College -- accounting for nearly half of all respondents (46 percent) -- but the list of the 25 most popular colleges and universities for last year's seniors also included a broad range of public and private institutions.

The top 10 most popular schools and number of Montgomery County applicants were: University of Maryland at College Park (2,085), Montgomery College (1,354), Towson University (691), University of Maryland Baltimore County (636), Pennsylvania State University (359), Salisbury University (312), Frostburg State University (291), University of Delaware (248), Virginia Polytechnic Institute (236), and the University of Michigan (195).

The other colleges and universities on the list included George Washington University (189), University of Pennsylvania (185), St. Mary's College (184), Cornell University (174), New York University (170), University of Virginia (163), James Madison University (158), Boston University (153), Johns Hopkins University (146), American University (139), Georgetown University (139), Duke University (136), East Carolina University (129), Morgan State University (129), Howard University (128), and West Virginia University (128).

Respondent data were reported for special education students and those participating in the English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) program and the Free and Reduced-price Meal System (FARMS), as well as by race, ethnicity, and gender. The report is available on the web at the link below.

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