Niche Resources

2018 College Admissions Report

We surveyed more than 36,000 of this year’s incoming college freshman — America’s high school class of 2018 — to find out the current status of college admissions. How are students discovering colleges they’re interested in? How many schools are they applying to? How are they paying for college? Thanks to input from our users, here are insights into all that and more.

The College Search Process

What’s important when choosing where to apply?

Percent of Class of 2018 who consider these ‘very important’

Our respondents prefer their own research tools (student reviews, net price calculators, and rankings) over person-to-person contact. No surprise there! When trying to find a college, you want real insight, and our honest, straight-from-the-students college reviews continue to be our most popular feature. Niche also provides a net price calculator for every school, access to dozens of college rankings, and ways to filter your search by size, cost, major, your SAT or ACT score, and more.

What’s important when choosing where to attend?

Percent of Class of 2018 who consider these ‘very important’

A whopping 90% of students are focused on choosing schools that have their major, while cost is still a huge concern with 83% of our respondents. We get it. Want to keep tuition costs low? When searching colleges on Niche, use the “Cost (Net Price)” filter to keep results to schools in your price range.

How many colleges are students applying to, visiting, and getting accepted to?

Nearly half of students applied to five or more colleges, but less than a third of students were accepted to five or more colleges. Still, 60% were accepted to at least three schools, meaning most students still had a good number of options to choose from.


Median number of schools students apply to
Median number of schools students visit
Median number of schools students get accepted to

A question of confidence

Most students feel confident about the college they’ve chosen. More than 80% of respondents believe they’re well-prepared for the college they plan to attend, will graduate on time, will land a job, and be successful.

However, less than half of students are confident they have the money to pay for it all.

I'm confident the college I've chosen will prepare me for success after graduation
I'm confident I will graduate on time from the college I've chosen
I'm confident I will get a job after graduating from the college I've chosen
I'm confident that I am prepared for the college I've chosen
I'm confident I will be able to afford the college I've chosen

Do kids have access to the money they need for college?

We compared the responses to “Did you fill out your FAFSA?” and “Will you be taking out loans?” to find out if kids understand their financial needs, and how far along they are in the process of obtaining money for college.

An overwhelming majority of students — more than 90% — filled out the FAFSA. However, just under half of students will definitely pursue loans. 24% of students are foregoing loans, and even though school starts in a couple of months, 31% are not yet sure if they’ll be taking out loans.

Did you not apply to certain schools because the tuition was too high?

Looking for the right college? Start here

Author: Ali Trachta

Ali is the former Content Writer/Editor at Niche. She's a content strategist and award-winning writer, as well as a former editor at LA Weekly and NEXTpittsburgh. As a mom of one who's lived and worked all across the country, she's glad to have once again found her niche in her hometown of Pittsburgh.