Stanford University is the number one dream college in the U.S. Again. Five years ago, the California college snatched the top spot away from Harvard, and it’s still hanging on to the crown, according to the 15th annual “College Hopes & Worries Survey” of 10,519 college applicants and parents that was conducted by the Princeton Review. Of the respondents, 81 percent were college applicants, while 19 percent were parents of applicants. Students and parents were asked this fill-in-the-blank question: “What ‘dream college’ do you wish you (your child) could attend if acceptance or cost weren’t issues?” More than 500 colleges and universities were named.
Students’ top 10 dream colleges:
Parents’ top 10 dream colleges:
College hopes and dreams are also accompanied by college worries and fears:
Applications are stressssssssful.
76 percent of respondents gauged their stress levels as “high” or “very high,” which is 4 percent more than a year ago. Compare this to the 56 percent who reported such stress in 2003, the survey’s initial year. Students reported higher stress levels than parents.
Who’s gonna pay for this?
98 percent of the respondents said financial aid would be necessary to pay for college. Among this cohort, 65 percent deemed it “extremely necessary.”
Toughest factor? College admissions tests.
When asked which aspect of the application process was the toughest, 37 percent of respondents (the plurality) chose the answer, “Taking the SAT, ACT or AP.” In addition, 33 percent said, “Completing applications for admission and financial aid.”
Biggest worry? Debt.
When it comes to college worries, debt tops the list with 38 percent (the plurality) admitting their biggest worry was the “level of debt I/my child will take on to pay for the degree.” In 2006, by comparison, the biggest worry was this: “Won’t get in to first-choice college.”
College cost estimate? $50,000+
85 percent estimated their degree will cost “more than $50,000.” Within that cohort, 43 percent said it would cost “more than $100,000.”
Main benefit of college? Jobs.
Forty-two percent said the biggest benefit of earning a college degree was a “potentially better job/income,” while 33 percent most valued the “exposure to new ideas” and 26 percent said the “education” was the greatest benefit.
This article was written by Planet 94.1