Here Are 23 Reasons for College Choice–and a Note on the Honors Option

Editor’s note: The following list comes from a post by college consultant Nancy Griesemer, who writes regular for the Washington Examiner. Read the full post, and consult the always fascinating UCLA Freshman Report for more information.

Griesemer notes in her post that while 73% of applicants are accepted by their first choice college, only 55% end up enrolling at that institution. Clearly, cost is a big factor behind these stats, and points to an issue of concern to us: finding a place for students smart enough to get into elite private colleges but cannot attend the private school of their choice for financial reasons.

In addition, with the current emphasis on selectivity as a major metric in the U.S. News rankings, highly talented students are being ever more widely recruited by elite universities and, at the same time, finding their odds of acceptance significantly reduced. For these students, the relatively high first choice acceptance cited above does not obtain.

So…insufficient merit aid to offset costly private tuition and expenses, plus capricious selectivity designed to make schools look better by  rejecting smart applicants, have helped boost public honors programs where students can find quality at a lower cost, along with a better overall mix of students.

The arrows below indicate whether the response percentage has increased or decreased since the previous year’s survey.

1. College has a very good academic reputation (65.4 percent)↑
2. This college’s graduates get good jobs (53.4 percent)↑
3. I was offered financial assistance (46.9 percent)↓
4. The cost of attending this college (44.9 percent)↓
5. College has a good reputation for social activities (42.8 percent)↓
6. A visit to the campus (42.4 percent)↓
7. Wanted to go to a college about this size (36.6 percent)↓
8. Grads get into good grad/professional schools (32.9 percent)↓
9. Percent of students that graduate from this college (31.1 percent)↑
10. Wanted to live near home (20.7 percent)↑
11. Information from a website (18.8 percent)↑
12. Rankings in national magazines (18 percent)↑
13. Parents wanted me to go to this school (17.2 percent)↓
14. Admitted early decision and/or early action (15.7 percent)↑
15. Could not afford first choice (14.1 percent)↓
16. Not offered aid by first choice (10.6 percent)↓
17. High school counselor advised me (10.4 percent)↑
18. Athletic department recruited me (9.1 percent)↓
19. My relatives wanted me to come here (8 percent)↑
20. Attracted by religious affiliation/orientation of college (7.3 percent)↓
21. My teacher advised me (7.2 percent)↑
22. Private college counselor advised me (4.6 percent)↑
23. Ability to take online courses (4.1 percent)↑




New MSU Honors College Students: Why They Chose Honors

Editor’s Note: The following item comes from the staff of Michigan State University Today.

Citing interests in research opportunities, study abroad programs and the flexibility offered by the Michigan State University Honors College, 20 top high school scholars have chosen MSU for the next chapter of their academic careers.

The students’ average high school grade point average is approximately 4.3. The average ACT score is 35 (out of 36) and the average SAT score (critical reading plus math only) is 1520 (out of 1600).

The newest Alumni Distinguished Scholarship and University Distinguished Scholarship recipients hail from Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Wyoming.

The scholarships, which are considered among the most competitive awards in the country, are valued at more than $115,000 for in-state students and $190,000 for out-of-state students. They cover full tuition, room and board and a stipend for up to eight semesters of study.

All students will join MSU’s Honors College along with approximately 500 other outstanding incoming students.

Alumni Distinguished Scholars:

  • Rebecca Carlson of Rockford, Rockford High School
  • Kevin Chase of League City, Texas, Clear Creek High School
  • Tyler Alden Cochran of Manhattan, Kan., Manhattan High School
  • Kim Gannon of Downers Grove, Ill., Lemont High School
  • Adam Greene of Taylor, Harry S Truman High School
  • John Groetsch of Holt, Okemos High School
  • Thomas Grubb of Haslett, Haslett High School
  • Laura Hesse of Madison, Ind., Shawe Memorial High School
  • Abigail Lewis Johnson of Winter Springs, Fla., Winter Springs High School
  • Claire Morrison of Grosse Pointe Woods, Grosse Pointe South High School
  • Joseph Mulka of Livonia, Churchill High School
  • Patrick Murray of Taylor, Harry S Truman High School
  • Adam Michał Olszewski of Ann Arbor, Pioneer High School
  • Matthew Suandi of Williamston, Williamston High School
  • Angela Sun of Canton, Plymouth-Canton High School
  • John Wenzel of Haslett, Haslett High School

University Distinguished Scholars:

  • Eric Boerman of Mohnton, Pa., Twin Valley High School
  • Jaazaniah Catterall of Rock Springs, Wyo., Rock Springs High School
  • Zach Farmer of Cincinnati, Ohio, Anderson High School
  • Ana Veskovic of Allentown, Pa., Parkland High School

Alumni Distinguished Scholars were selected from more than 1,100 of the top high school seniors who applied to MSU and took an intensive general knowledge exam. They were then selected by a committee composed of faculty and administrators based on the results of the exam, high school programs and achievements, other standardized test scores and interviews with the finalists.

University Distinguished Scholars were chosen from an MSU applicant pool based on academic records, accomplishments and interviews with the finalists. Students were selected by the director of admissions and dean of the Honors College on the basis of their high school programs, achievements and standardized test scores.

For more information about the scholarships, visit the Honors College or the Office of Admissions.