Niche Resources

2019 College Admissions Report

When it comes to the college search, where exactly are students looking? And what matters to them when it comes to choosing the right school? We surveyed 17,000 of this year’s incoming college freshman — America’s high school class of 2019 — to find out the current status of college admissions. Here’s what you told us:

The College Search Process

What’s important when choosing where to apply?

Percent of Class of 2019 who consider these ‘very important’

When you want to know what a college is really like, more than anything, you want to hear from each other. Student reviews are ranked as the most important source of information when it comes to deciding what colleges to apply to. Luckily, Niche is a great resource for this. We have more than 200,000 student reviews of colleges from all over the country, giving a straight-from-the-horse’s mouth look at what kind of experience students actually have at their school.

Of course, it also matters a great deal how much a certain college will cost, so it’s no surprise that net price calculators are popular among college-seekers as well. Niche calculates the net price (or cost of the school after financial aid) for you, taking the guess work out of figuring out what you’ll pay.

Finally, it’s clear college rankings matter to students. We get that, which is why we not only tell you which colleges are the best overall, we tell you which ones are the best value, which ones have the best dorms, best food, best party scene and much more.

What Kind of High Schools Did You Come From?

We asked students to tell us whether they grew up in a city, suburb, or rural setting, and whether they went to a public or private high school. We also took a look at how those same students answered a variety of other questions about the college admissions process.


What’s important when choosing where to attend?

Percent of Class of 2019 who consider these ‘very important’

More than 90% of students care most if a college offers their major. Makes sense! Why go to a school if you can’t study what interests you? At Niche, you can see what colleges rank highest for tons of different majors, helping guide your search and decide where to apply.

It’s also clear that cost is a major concern, with 86% of respondents citing it as “very important.” If keeping tuition costs low is a priority,  use the “Cost (Net Price)” filter when searching colleges on Niche to make sure you’re finding schools in your budget.

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

Did you ever worry you wouldn’t get in anywhere? Happily, you did! More than 99% of students who responded got into at least one college, and about half got into at least four colleges. A quarter of them had their pick of more than six colleges. Way to go!


Median number of schools students applied to
Median number of schools students visited
Median number of schools students got accepted into

How confident are students?

The vast majority of students feel confident that the college they’ve chosen will set them up for success in the future. This may be in part because almost 80% of respondents believe they’re well-prepared for the college they plan to attend.

Graduating on time isn’t a concern for more than 80% of our survey-takers, nor is landing a job after graduation.

But students today are less confident about what all this success will cost. Less than 40% 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 students have access to the money they need for college?

We took at look at the responses to “Did you fill out your FAFSA?” and “Will you be taking out loans?” to find out if students understand their own financial needs, and where they are in the process of obtaining money for college.

Almost 93% of respondents filled out the FAFSA (Good! Everyone should!) but whether or not everyone will take out loans is a bigger question mark. About 44% of survey-takers say they will, but about 32% are unsure.

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

You have a budget, and more than half of you hit your limit. About 56% of survey-takers said they ruled out applying to certain colleges because the tuition was out of reach.


At Niche, we know the college search process is not only complicated, but also very personal. There’s no perfect college, but there might be a perfect college for you. We’re always grateful for insight into how we can help make the process of finding the right school as easy as possible for students.

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.