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Undergraduate student enrollment profiles in top-ranking U. S. colleges
Keywords : Higher Education
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Abstract
College selection can be a critical life choice, with studies showing large differences in income and career success among those who attend top schools. Enrollment patterns have changed in recent years in response to economic downturns and altered admission policies, affecting colleges across the country. The top-tier institutions have admissions criteria that necessarily differ from lower tier schools, but top-tier colleges also differ from each other in the type of students they admit. An analysis of student profiles and enrollments at the nationís most selective institutions will aid and inform both student applicants and the public of top-tier colleges. This study analyzed data obtained from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System on the 26 top-ranked U.S. colleges during the academic year 2013-2014. We identified differences in demographics, enrollment rates, admission rates, graduation rates, test scores, grade point average, tuition, financial assistance, and majors. First-year undergraduate male enrollments ranged from a low of 41.5% at one university to a high of 60.2% at another. Depending on the university, the number of students receiving financial aid ranged between 47.3% and 94.8%. Differences in racial make-up of admitted classes were notable, with some institutions enrolling ten times the number of persons from a specific race than other institutions in the top 26. This analysis of admissions to top-tier U.S. colleges reflects the differing priorities of the institutions and their applicants.