2015 Princeton Review Reveals the Concerns, Aspirations of College-Bound Teens and Their Parents

Posted By Terri Williams on September 18, 2015 at 12:27 pm
2015 Princeton Review Reveals the Concerns, Aspirations of College-Bound Teens and Their Parents

The Princeton Review’s annual College Hopes and Worries Survey provides a first-hand look into the thoughts and concerns of college applicants and their parents. The comprehensive survey addresses issues like the college application process, projected college costs, and the respondents’ biggest worries. Respondents also ranked their “dream colleges,” and offered advice to other students and parents.

GoodCall took an in-depth look at the survey and excerpted the results below:

2015's College Hopes & Worries Survey (1)


What is your dream college/what college would you most want to attend (or send your child to)?

Rank Top 10 Among Students Top 10 Among Parents
1 Stanford University Stanford University
2 Harvard College Harvard College
3 New York University Princeton University
4 Columbia University Yale University
5 University of California, Los Angeles Massachusetts Institute of Technology
6 Yale University New York University
7 Massachusetts Institute of Technology Columbia University
8 Princeton University University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
9 Cornell University University of Notre Dame
10 University of Pennsylvania University of California, Los Angeles


How many colleges will you (or your child) apply to?

Students Parents
1 to 4 schools 33% 30%
5 to 8 schools 41% 47%
9 to 12 schools 19% 19%
13 or more schools 7% 4%


What is/will be the toughest part of your (or your child’s) college application experience?

Students Parents
Taking the SAT, ACT, or AP exams 35% 28%
Completing applications for admission and financial aid 32% 35%
Waiting for the decision letters: choosing which college to attend 20% 17%
Researching colleges: choosing schools to apply to 13% 20%


What do you estimate that your (or your child’s) college degree will cost, including four years of tuition, room and board, fees, books, and other expenses?

Students Parents
More than $100,000 39% 58%
$75,000 to $100,000 26% 24%
$50,000 to $75,000 20% 12%
$25,000 to $50,000 12% 5%
Less than $25,000 3% 1%


How necessary will financial aid (education loans, scholarships, grants) be to paying for your (or your child’s) college education?

Students Parents
Extremely 66% 67%
Very 24% 21%
Somewhat 9% 11%
Not at all 1% 1%


What is your biggest concern about applying to or attending college?

Students Parents
Level of debt 39% 39%
Will get into first choice but won’t be able to attend due to high cost or insufficient funds 34% 37%
Won’t get into first-choice college 21% 18%
Will attend a college may not be happy with 6% 6%


What will be the biggest benefit of you (or your child) attending college?

Students Parents
The potentially better job and higher income 44% 48%
The exposure to new ideas 32% 24%
The education 24% 28%


Respondents also provided advice and tips for next year’s students and parents.

Advice from students

“Start early. As a matter of fact, start now.” — Diego, Moreno Valley, CA

“Don’t start as early as I did (sophomore year), it just causes unnecessary stress and once you start, it is hard to just stop.” — Bailey

“Research, research, research. The better educated you are about the colleges, the better chance you will get the education you really want.” — Elizabeth, Cohasset, MA

“College is about finding your happiness, not your parents’ happiness or what would look good on your bumper. Be open-minded.” — Jenny, CA

“Calm down. It’s only four years!” — R.H., Springfield, MO

“Try not to get too stressed out even if your parents are.” — Will, Norwalk CT

“Getting into college is the easy part. Paying for it, on the other hand, is difficult.” — Tabitha, Phoenix, AZ

“Apply to all colleges you want to go to, even if you cannot afford it. You may be surprised how much the colleges are wiling to help you out.” — Sarah, Fairlawn, NJ

Advice from parents

“Treat the application process like a job. Set a regular time each week to tackle some aspect of the process.” — Laura, ME

“Start preparing in your child’s first year of high school. Don’t wait until third year.” — Carlene, Roseville, CA

“Relax! Somehow, it all comes together. Everyone goes through it, so ask your family and friends for advice/help. You will be surprised at the great advice you can gather that way.” — Sharon, Brielle, NJ

“When visiting colleges, don’t just take the packaged tour. Eat in the dining halls and talk with the students.” — John, Orange, CT

“Don’t focus on a major so much as interests and opportunities. Nobody is sure at 18 what they want to do. They beauty of college is you have a chance to expand your horizons and perspective.” — Larry, Bayside, NY

“It matters more what your child does at the college he/she gets into than which college he/she gets into.” — L. T., Cincinnati

“It does end.” — Linda, Agoura, CA

Terri Williams
Terri Williams graduated with a B.A. in English from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Her education, career, and business articles have been featured on Yahoo! Education, U.S. News & World Report, The Houston Chronicle, and in the print edition of USA Today Special Edition. Terri is also a contributing author to "A Practical Guide to Digital Journalism Ethics," a book published by the Center for Digital Ethics and Policy at Loyola University Chicago.

You May Also Like