New survey: 97% of high school juniors say they would consider applying to a college they’d never heard of before

April 20, 2022 – PITTSBURGH – Niche, the leading platform connecting students and families with colleges and schools, today released a new survey of 9,461 high school juniors preparing for the fall college admissions cycle. The 2022 Survey of Juniors Searching for College was conducted as a joint project between Niche and Tudor Collegiate Strategies (TCS) for the second year in a row.

When it comes to brand recognition for colleges, the name is important — but not a deal-breaker. A majority of students (69%) said a college’s name recognition is important to them, and only 11% said it didn’t matter at all. However, almost all respondents (97%) said they’d consider applying to a college they’d never heard of. 

“More than two-thirds of juniors say that name recognition and brand is important to them when considering colleges. However, 97% of students said they would consider applying to a college they’d never heard of if certain conditions were met, the first being a conversation with someone from the school,” said Will Patch, Senior Enrollment Insights Leader. “This is great news for thousands of institutions. By encouraging current students and alumni to connect with prospective applicants, colleges could reach many more students who are a great fit, but who might not have had the school on their radar before.”

Another one of the most notable results came from a question about affordability. In a 16-point leap from the 2021 survey, 91% of respondents reported that they are eliminating colleges from consideration based on total cost. At a time when more people are questioning the value of higher education and financial concerns loom large for many households, the increase suggests college bound students are more aware and discerning than ever when it comes to how much their degree will cost them and their families.

“Year after year, we see that the overwhelming majority of our high school survey respondents, across all income levels, are worried about affording college,” said Patch. “They may not be aware of how the financial aid process works and that they are likely to pay much less, or they might be saying that they don’t believe they would receive enough aid to make taking a chance worth it. In either case, we’re seeing a fatigue in the system of pricing and discounting that is so unlike any other purchase or experience they will have.”

Other key takeaways include:

The full results can be viewed here: 

About Niche: Niche is the leading platform connecting students and families with colleges and schools. Whether a school is already on their list or the perfect fit they haven’t yet discovered, Niche connects families to the ones that are uniquely right for them. Our enrollment marketing solutions enable our 2,000 partners to build genuine connections that nurture interest into visits, applications and enrollment. By supporting over 50 million students and parents, Niche is changing how schools and colleges connect with families and build their future classes.

Press contact:

Natalie Tsay
Senior PR Specialist