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Chapter 5: College Knowledge

Indicator 28: Steps Toward Postsecondary Enrollment

In 2004, higher percentages of females than males had taken or planned to take college preparatory and/or entrance exams, such as the PSAT, ACT, and SAT.

In 2004, some 57 percent of high school seniors had taken or planned to take the College Board PSAT and 82 percent had taken or planned to take the SAT or the ACT. Overall, a higher percentage of females than males had taken or planned to take these college preparatory (PSAT) or entrance (SAT or ACT) exams, a pattern that held for the White and Asian subgroups. In addition, a higher percentage of Hispanic females had taken or planned to take the SAT or ACT than Hispanic males (75 vs. 68 percent). No measurable differences between males and females were found for other racial/ethnic groups. Information on students' performance on ACT and SAT examinations is presented in Indicator 24.

The percentage of high school seniors who had taken or planned to take college preparatory and/or entrance exams varied across racial/ethnic groups. When asked about the PSAT, a higher percentage of Asian students (70 percent) had taken or planned to take the test than all other racial/ ethnic groups, with one exception: due to small sample sizes, no measurable differences were found between Asians and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islanders. A higher percentage of White students (59 percent) than Black (54 percent), Hispanic (46 percent), or American Indian/ Alaska Native students (44 percent) had taken or planned to take the PSAT. Additionally, a measurably higher percentage of Blacks than Hispanics had taken or planned to take the PSAT.

Higher percentages of Asian students also planned to take the SAT or ACT compared with all other racial/ ethnic groups, with one exception: due to small sample sizes, no measurable difference was found between Asians and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islanders. The SAT/ACT pattern for Whites compared with other racial/ethnic groups differed from the PSAT pattern. For example, no measurable difference was found between the percentage of White and Black students who had taken or planned to take the SAT or ACT (84 percent each). Also, a higher percentage of Black students took or planned to take the SAT or ACT than Hispanic and American Indian/Alaska Native students (84 vs. 71 and 67 percent, respectively).

Among high school seniors in 2004 who took or planned to take the SAT or ACT, the percentages who took or planned to take various steps to prepare for these tests varied across types of preparation. Overall, these students took or planned to take a special course at high school (21 percent), a commercial SAT/ACT preparation course (14 percent), and/or private one-to-one tutoring for the SAT/ ACT (11 percent). Additionally, they studied or planned to study from SAT/ACT preparation books (62 percent), and used or planned to use SAT/ACT preparation videos (4 percent) and/or SAT/ACT preparation computer programs (36 percent). Overall, higher percentages of females than males prepared or planned to prepare for the SAT/ACT using the following methods: taking commercial preparation courses, studying from preparation books, and using computer programs.

In 2004, the percentage of students who studied or planned to study using SAT/ACT preparation books—the most frequently reported preparation method—varied by sex and race/ethnicity. A higher percentage of females than males reported this method of preparation (70 vs. 53 percent), a finding which held across all racial/ ethnic groups for which data are presented. The largest differences by sex were found among students of two or more races (24 percent), followed by Hispanics (22 percent), Whites (17 percent), Blacks (14 percent), and Asians (13 percent). By race/ethnicity, higher percentages of Black and Asian students (77 percent each) studied or planned to study using SAT/ACT preparation books than White students (58 percent), Hispanic students (64 percent), and students of two or more races (61 percent).

In 2004, about 93 percent of high school seniors planned to continue their education after high school. A higher percentage of females than males had postsecondary aspirations (96 vs. 90 percent). This pattern held for White, Black, Hispanic, and American Indian/Alaska Native males and females. Also concerning postsecondary aspirations, racial/ethnic differences showed that higher percentages of Blacks (95 percent) and Asians (97 percent) had postsecondary aspirations than did Hispanics (92 percent), and higher percentages of Asians (97 percent) planned to continue their education after high school than did American Indians/Alaska Natives (87 percent).

Among high school seniors with postsecondary aspirations, 74 percent applied to at least one postsecondary institution while in high school: 22 percent applied to only one institution, 39 percent applied to two to four institutions, and 13 percent applied to five or more institutions. A higher percentage of females than males applied to at least one postsecondary institution while in high school (78 vs. 70 percent), a finding which held for White, Black, Hispanic, and Asian students with postsecondary aspirations as well. A higher percentage of Asian students applied to at least one postsecondary institution than students of other racial/ethnic groups, with one exception: due to small sample sizes, no measurable differences were found between Asian and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander postsecondary applications. Higher percentages of White (76 percent) and Black (74 percent) students applied to at least one postsecondary institution than Hispanic (62 percent) and American Indian/Alaska Native students (60 percent).

Among seniors with postsecondary aspirations, a higher percentage of females (15 percent) than males (11 percent) applied to five or more postsecondary institutions while in high school, a finding which held for White, Hispanic, and Asian students, and students of two or more races. Across racial/ethnic groups, a higher percentage of Asian students applied to five or more postsecondary institutions (32 percent) than students from other groups shown. A higher percentage of Black students applied to five or more institutions than did White and Hispanic students (16 percent vs. 12 and 11 percent, respectively).

Technical Notes

In this indicator, "postsecondary institution" refers to 4-year colleges or universities; 2-year community colleges; or vocational, technical, or trade schools. The student questionnaire items did not differentiate between steps students had already taken and steps they planned to take toward postsecondary education. The Education Longitudinal Study of 2002 includes students from public and private high schools.

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Figure 28-1 Percentage of high school seniors who took or planned to take college entrance examinations, by race/ethnicity and sex: 2004

Figure 28-2 Among high school seniors who took or planned to take the SAT or the ACT, the percentage who studied or planned to study from SAT/ACT preparation books, by race/ethnicity and sex: 2004

Figure 28-3 Among high school seniors who planned to continue their education after high school, percentage who applied to at least one and to five or more postsecondary institutions while in high school, by race/ethnicity and sex: 2004

Table E-28-1 Percentage of high school seniors who took or planned to take college preparatory and/or entrance examinations, by type of examination, sex, and race/ethnicity: 2004

Table E-28-2 Among high school seniors who took or planned to take the SAT or the ACT, percentage who took or planned to take various steps to prepare for these tests, by type of preparation, sex, and race/ethnicity: 2004

Table E-28-3 Among high school seniors who planned to continue their education after high school, percentage who applied to one or more postsecondary institutions while in high school, by sex and race/ethnicity: 2004


  
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