The Princeton Review's 2013 "College Hopes & Worries Survey" Reports On 14,125 Students' & Parents' Top 10 "Dream Colleges" And Application Views - 69% Report High Stress

- 89% Say Financial Aid "Very Necessary"

- Stanford is #1 "Dream College" Among Students & Parents / #2 is Harvard

NEW YORK, March 21, 2013 /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 The Princeton Review's 2013 "College Hopes & Worries Survey" – an annual poll of college applicants and parents of applicants – stress levels are high and worries about college costs are higher than ever.  Eighty-nine percent of survey respondents this year say financial aid will be "very" necessary to pay for college and within that cohort 66% say "extremely" necessary (a 5% increase over 2012).  Nonetheless, 100% of the respondents believe college will be "worth it" and 51% see a "potentially better job / higher income" as the main benefit of the diploma.

The college applicants and parents most named as their "dream college" –  the school they wish they (or their child) could attend were cost and acceptance not issues  –  was Stanford.  Harvard was the 2nd most named.

The Princeton Review, one of the nation's best known education services companies, has conducted its "College Hopes & Worries Survey" since 2003. Findings for the 2013 survey are based on responses from 14,125 people. Seventy percent (9,955) were teens applying to colleges: 30% (4,170) were parents of applicants. Respondents hailed from all 50 states and DC, plus several countries abroad. The 15-question survey ran in The Princeton Review book, The Best 377 Colleges: 2013 Edition (Random House, August 2012), and it was accessible on www.PrincetonReview.com from September 2012 through March 5.

Top 10 "Dream Colleges"

Answering the survey's only fill-in-the-blank question, "What 'dream college' do you wish you or your child could attend if acceptance or cost weren't issues?" respondents wrote in more than 500 institution names.  

The colleges students most named as their "dream college" were:

  1. Stanford University
  2. Harvard College
  3. Columbia University
  4. New York University
  5. Princeton University
  6. University of CaliforniaLos Angeles
  7. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  8. Yale University
  9. University of MichiganAnn Arbor
  10. University of CaliforniaBerkeley

The colleges parents most named as their "dream college" for their children were:

  1. Stanford University
  2. Harvard College
  3. Princeton University
  4. University of Notre Dame
  5. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  6. Yale University
  7. New York University
  8. Brown University
  9. Columbia University
  10. University of MichiganAnn Arbor

In students' and parents' responses to questions with multiple answer choices, findings show these perspectives among respondents overall:

  • Applications are stressful.
    97% reported having college application stress: 69% gauged their stress levels as "High" or "Very High."
  • Biggest worry? Debt.
    39%, the plurality, said their biggest worry is "Level of debt incurred to pay for the degree." Previously (2010 to 2012), the answer most selected was "Will get into first-choice college, but won't have sufficient funds/aid to attend."  In 2009, it was "Won't get into first-choice college."
  • College cost estimate? $50,000+
    87% estimated their degree to cost "More than $50,000."  Within that cohort 45% said "More than $100,000."
  • Main benefit of college? Better job. 
     51% said "Potentially better job / income." 24% said "Education." 25% said "Exposure to new ideas."
  • Distance from home "ideal" college would be? Parents and students differ.
    52% of parents chose "Less than 250 miles": 61% of students chose answers in ranges from 250 to 1,000 miles.

Other survey findings report on: number of colleges respondents were applying to, the toughest part of their application experiences, if the economy was affecting their school choices (and how). The Princeton Review also asked respondents their advice for 2014 applicants and parents.  The most repeated exhortation among parents and students alike: "Start early."  One parent wrote, "College is not a prize to be won but a match to be made."  A teen wrote, "Enjoy applying to colleges. You (hopefully) only get to do it once."

A survey report (all questions, answer choices, and findings) plus a sampler of respondents' advice is at www.princetonreview.com/college-hopes-worries.aspx

The Princeton Review is also known for its annual college rankings in 62 categories (www.princetonreview.com/college-rankings.aspx) it reports in August in its book, The Best 377 Colleges, and its many other categories of school rankings and lists accessible at www.princetonreview.com

The Princeton Review is not affiliated with Princeton University and it is not a magazine.

About The Princeton Review

Founded in 1981, The Princeton Review (www.PrincetonReview.com) is a privately held education services company headquartered in Framingham, MA. The Company has long been a leader in helping students achieve their education and career goals through its test preparation services, tutoring and admissions resources, online courses, and more than 150 print and digital books published by Random House, Inc. The Princeton Review delivers its programs via a network of more than 5,000 teachers and tutors in the U.S.A., Canada, and international franchises. The Company also partners with schools and guidance counselors worldwide to provide students with college readiness, test preparation and career planning services.  

WEBSITE: www.princetonreview.com/college-hopes-worries.aspx

SOURCE Random House / Princeton Review Books



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