What High School Juniors Think

Only 8 percent of the class hasn't started their college search, survey finds.

May 10, 2021
(FatCamera/Getty Images)

While many in the admissions world are focused on the current class of high school seniors, they also are paying attention to high school juniors, who have had the beginnings of their college searches influenced by the pandemic.

Niche and Tudor Collegiate Strategies have surveyed 7,129 high school juniors about their college searches.

The survey found that 66 percent of the students prefer in-person events and visits to virtual equivalents. But just 29 percent have made an in-person visit in the past year.

Of the 47 percent of students who said the pandemic has changed how they feel about attending college:

  • 53 percent said it feels riskier to attend, but they still plan to.
  • 38 percent said it feels more important to attend now.
  • 5 percent are considering a gap year.
  • 5 percent question whether college is a good investment for them.

On what they most want to see on college social media accounts, the top answer was classrooms (84 percent), followed by campus life (83 percent). The items least selected were the arts (37 percent) and athletics (34 percent).

Only 8 percent of the students said they hadn't started their searches. Of the remainder, 68 percent said they were "actively researching about building my list to consider" and 25 percent said they had "already narrowed down my list."

Of those who have visited a campus this year, 86 percent it was a positive experience.

But for those who are (mostly) doing research without visits, these were their preferred ways to research colleges:

  • Research colleges online: 55 percent
  • Visit the campus with social distancing: 18 percent
  • Virtual events and information sessions: 14 percent
  • Work with a college counselor: 4 percent
  • Reach out to an admissions counselor: 3 percent
  • I only plan to apply to a few colleges that I know: 3 percent
  • Reach out to current students: 2 percent

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Scott Jaschik

Scott Jaschik, Editor, is one of the three founders of Inside Higher Ed. With Doug Lederman, he leads the editorial operations of Inside Higher Ed, overseeing news content, opinion pieces, career advice, blogs and other features. Scott is a leading voice on higher education issues, quoted regularly in publications nationwide, and publishing articles on colleges in publications such as The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, Salon, and elsewhere. He has been a judge or screener for the National Magazine Awards, the Online Journalism Awards, the Folio Editorial Excellence Awards, and the Education Writers Association Awards. Scott served as a mentor in the community college fellowship program of the Hechinger Institute on Education and the Media, of Teachers College, Columbia University. He is a member of the board of the Education Writers Association. From 1999-2003, Scott was editor of The Chronicle of Higher Education. Scott grew up in Rochester, N.Y., and graduated from Cornell University in 1985. He lives in Washington.

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