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lumina-college-plans-dec-2010.JPGFemale high school students are much more likely than males to plan on attending college right after graduation, according to a recent survey by the non-profits WKCD (What Kids Can Do) and the Lumina Foundation.

Females, Asians Most Likely to Have Immediate College Plans

Overall, results from “Hear Us Out” indicate that almost seven in 10 (68%) US high school students surveyed plan to start college right after graduating high school. Another 16% plan to attend eventually. Only 4% say they definitely will not attend college, with 2% not wanting to and 2% wanting to but unable due to finances.

However, a demographic breakdown of these responses shows that 75% of female high school students plan to attend college right after graduation, compared to only 61% of male students, a 23% differential. This is even slightly wider than the 22% differential between the 78% of upper-income students and 64% of lower-income students who plan to attend college right away.lumina-college-plans-demographic-dec-2010.JPG

Broken down by ethnicity, 79% of Asian students plan to attend college right away, making Asians the ethnic group most likely to have this plan. Conversely, 56% of Hispanic students plan to attend college right away, marking a 41% difference between the highest- and lowest-scoring ethnic groups in regard to having immediate college plans.

Family Biggest College Influencer

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When it comes to who influences high school students in their decision to attend college, family is decisively the biggest influencer. Seventy-six percent of respondents say family influences their college decision a lot. Mentors/coaches/other adults (41%) and teachers (39%) distantly follow in importance.

Most Students Think School Supports College Plans

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A majority of high school students report receiving support from their school in preparing for college. Seventy-four percent say their teachers consider them college material and that they know which courses to take to prepare them for college.

Relatively high percentages also say school is preparing them well for college (72%) and they are encouraged to take high-level courses (67%). However, more than half say athletics are valued as much or more than academics (56%), and only 42% say most students at their school strive to do their best. Close to one-third (29%) negative racial/ethnic stereotypes affect their learning ability.

Almost All Seniors Conduct Web Research

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More than nine in 10 (92%) high school seniors report researching colleges online. Another 84% have looked into standardized tests, while 80% have both taken a standardized test and made a list of colleges that interest them. Only 52% have written a college essay.

1 in 4 Students Has Visited Campus

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Only one in four (26%) high school students says they have visited a college campus, although that figure may skew low because the whole respondent sample, including freshmen and sophomores, was asked the question. Of those who have made a college visit, the highest percentage (52%) visited two to three campuses.

More College Students Borrow More

Undergraduate college student borrowing has risen dramatically in recent years, according to new data analysis from the Pew Research Center’s Social & Demographic Trends project.

In 2008, 60% of all graduates had borrowed, compared with about half (52%) in 1996. Furthermore, among 2008 graduates who borrowed, the average loan for bachelor’s degree recipients was more than $23,000, roughly 35% more than the slightly higher than $17,000 the average bachelor’s degree recipient borrowed in 1996.

For associate’s degree and certificate recipients, the average loan increased about two-thirds, to more than $12,600 from about $7,600 (all figures in 2008 dollars).

About the Data: A total of 4,790 high school students completed a written survey.

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