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What Factors Influence College Choice
Monday, January 11, 2010
During the spring of their senior year in high school (1990 for Cohort One and 1993 for Cohort Two), all of the LSAY participants who planned to attend college in the fall were asked a number of questions about their college decision. First, the participants were asked to indicate whether a series of factors was very important, somewhat important, or not important in their choice of a college.
Seventy percent of the participants indicated that the availability of specific courses (or curriculum) was very important in their college choice (see Figure 1). Approximately 60 percent of the participants said that college expenses, the academic reputation of the college, and the availability of financial aid were very important factors.
In contrast, just over 10 percent of the participants said that having friends or family members attend the college was a very important factor in their decision.
Figure 1: Percent of High School Seniors Rating Factors as Very Important for College Choice, LSAY.
The participants were also asked to indicate how much influence a number of individuals – including their parents and friends – had on their choice of a college. Nearly 40 percent of the participants reported that their mothers had a lot of influence on their college choice, while one-third reported that their fathers had a lot of influence (see Figure 2). What they had read about the college came next in terms of influence on college choice.Less than 20 percent of the participants reported that their siblings, another relative, a school counselor, or a teacher had a lot of influence on their college choice.
Figure 2: Percent of High School Seniors Rating Factors as Having a Lot of Influence on their College Choice, LSAY.