Most seniors forego first-choice school after acceptance, survey finds

BY Talia Mindich  May 2, 2014 at 4:09 PM EST
Photo by Leslie Kirchhoff/Getty Images.

Photo by Leslie Kirchhoff/Getty Images.

Most U.S. seniors accepted into their first-choice colleges enroll elsewhere, a new study says.

According to the American Freshman Survey , conducted during the 2013 school year, only 56.9 percent of students enrolled in their first choice — the lowest number since the survey began in 1974. These students were primarily deterred by financial reasons, with the cost of the first choice school and the financial aid package offered by his or her current school as the driving reasons. The survey found:

The top reasons why students who are accepted to their first choice institution opt to enroll elsewhere mostly center around cost. . . . [R]oughly a quarter (25.7%) of students accepted to their first-choice college or university chose to enroll at a different institution because they were not offered aid by their first-choice campus. Just over 40% of students said that being unable to afford their first-choice college was a “very important” consideration in deciding to enroll in an institution other than their first-choice college.

The survey went on to say that students ended up enrolling at their current institution due to more “attractive” financial aid packages offered to them by that institution.