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Niche Resources
class of 2016 college admissions

Report: Class of 2016 College Admissions

We surveyed over 8,000 of this year’s incoming college freshman, the high school class of 2016, to report on the state of college admissions and financial aid for recent high school grads. Find out how kids are finding their niche, and more importantly, how they’re paying for it.

The College Search Process

What’s important when choosing where to apply?

Percent of Class of 2016 who consider these ‘very important’

resources for students

Our respondents seem to prefer their own research tools (student reviews, net price calculators, and rankings) over person-to-person contact.

What’s important when choosing where to attend?

Percent of Class of 2016 who consider these ‘very important’

student resources
About 90% of students are focused on choosing schools that have their major, and cost is still a huge concern with 85% of our respondents.

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

visit, apply, accepted

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

Interestingly, 1 in 5 students applied to 10+ schools, while almost 1 in 4 got accepted to 6 schools.

Which schools are the college Class of 2016 attending? Check out our Most Popular Colleges of the Class of 2016 list to find out the favorites.

Paying for College

1 in 5
students are not confident they can afford the college they've chosen, while only 48.5% of students are confident they can
of students did not apply to certain schools because the tuition was too high

Do kids understand how much they’ll really 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.
fafsa and loans

The results of our study show that the majority of respondents filled out their FAFSA to apply for financial aid, but almost 25% of students are still unsure of whether they’ll need to take out loans.

How confident are students about repaying their student loans?

Median number of years students believe it'll take them to finish paying student loans
Number of years the average bachelor holder takes to pay back their student loans

In fact, according to The Atlantic: “Two-thirds of the nation’s student-loan debt is held by people over age 30. The economists found that 30- and 40-somethings have the highest loan balances of all borrowers—an average of about $31,000, compared with the overall average of $26,000.”


Where are the most affordable colleges? Check out our Best Value Colleges ranking, in addition to our Top 25 Colleges under $20,000 list, to view options that don’t break the bank.

Author: Alex Caffee

Marketing and Business Analyst at Niche. Dessert aficionado. Found my Niche in Pittsburgh, PA!