Princeton Review’s 2009 ‘College Hopes & Worries Survey’ Reports on 15,000 Students’ & Parents’ Application Experiences & ‘Dream’ Schools

March 24, 2009

- 66% Report Stress Levels High

- 67% Say Economy Affected Their Decisions

- 85% Say Financial Aid ‘Very Necessary’

- Stanford #1 Dream School Among Students / Harvard #1 Among Parents

NEW YORK, March 25 /PRNewswire/ — Some call it “the other March madness.” It’s nail-biting season now through April as college acceptance / rejection and financial aid letters land in family mailboxes. According to a Princeton Review survey of 12,715 college applicants and 3,007 parents of applicants, almost 7 of 10 respondents say the economic downturn has affected their college application decisions and report high levels of stress about them.

Nearly 9 of 10 respondents say financial aid will be essential. However, if cost was not an issue and acceptance a given, the “dream college” students most wish they could attend is Stanford. Parents most wish their kids were headed to Harvard.

The Princeton Review, an education services company, has conducted its “College Hopes & Worries Survey” since 2003. Findings this year are based on 15,722 surveys completed on paper or online by students and parents from all 50 states and DC. The 13-question survey ran in The Princeton Review book, “Best 368 Colleges” (Random House, July 2008) and on www.PrincetonReview.com from late January to mid-March. All but one question was multiple-choice.

Top 10 Dream Colleges

For the survey’s only fill-in-the-blank question, “What ‘dream college’ do you wish you (your child) could attend if acceptance or cost weren’t issues?”, respondents wrote in the names of more than 700 institutions from Alaska Pacific University to Yale.

The schools most named by students as their “Dream Colleges” were:

    1/ Stanford
    2/ Harvard
    3/ Columbia
    4/ Princeton
    5/ New York University
    6/ Yale
    7/ University of California--Los Angeles,
    8/ Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    9/ University of Southern California,
    10/ University of California--Berkeley

The schools most named by parents as their “Dream Colleges” were:

    1/ Harvard
    2/ Stanford
    3/ Princeton
    4/ University of Notre Dame
    5/ Yale
    6/ New York University
    7/ University of California--Los Angeles
    8/ Duke
    9/ University of Southern California
    10/ Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Key Findings

Among respondents overall:

- 66% reported high levels of stress about college applications.

- 67% said the economic downturn affected their application decisions. Asked what was the major way it affected them: 38% said they were applying to colleges “with lower sticker prices,” 34% said they were applying to “more ‘financial aid safety’ schools,” and 28% said they were applying to “schools closer to home.”

- 85% said financial aid will be “very” or “extremely” necessary.

Other issues the survey asked about, and answer choices respondents most selected:

- Biggest worry about applying to college: “Will get into first-choice college, but won’t have sufficient funds/financial aid to attend it.”

- Toughest part of their application experience: “Taking the SAT, ACT or AP tests.”

- How far from home they’d prefer their ideal college to be: 53% of parents chose “0 to 250 miles,” while 65% of students chose answers in ranges over 250 miles.

An optional question invited respondents to offer advice for next year’s applicants. One student wrote: “Parents just need to be there for their kid. It’s not about getting into the very best college in America, it’s about getting into a college that suits you best.” The most common tip from students and parents alike: “Start early.” Said one mother: “Start preparing when your child is born.”

A survey report and samplers of advice from respondents are at www.PrincetonReview.com where users can also access Princeton Review’s list “100 Best Value Colleges for 2009.”

The Princeton Review — known for its test-prep courses, books, college and graduate school admission services, and education programs — is not affiliated with Princeton University and not a magazine.

WEB SITE: http://www.princetonreview.com

SOURCE The Princeton Review

Source: newswire

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