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Executive Summary

College Knowledge

Postsecondary Plans and Steps Toward Postsecondary Enrollment

In 2009, 9th-graders were asked to indicate the highest level of education they expected to achieve. A lower percentage of males than females (53 vs. 59 percent) expected to complete a bachelor's or graduate/professional degree. This pattern held for White males and females (56 vs. 63 percent) and Black males and females (54 vs. 61 percent), but no measurable differences by sex were observed for other racial/ethnic groups. About 60 percent of Asian males, 59 percent of males of two or more races, 56 percent of White males, and 54 percent of Black males expected to complete at least a bachelor's degree, compared with 44 percent of Hispanic males and 33 percent of American Indian/Alaska Native males.

In 2004, some 57 percent of high school seniors had taken or planned to take the College Board Preliminary SAT (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 tests, a pattern that held for the White and Asian subgroups. No measurable differences between males and females were found for other racial/ethnic groups.

In 2004, a higher percentage of female than male high school seniors had postsecondary aspirations (96 vs. 90 percent). This pattern held for White, Black, Hispanic, and American Indian/Alaska Native males and females. Also, a higher percentage of females than males with postsecondary aspirations 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.

Informational Resources

In 2004, among high school seniors with postsecondary aspirations, a higher percentage of females than males went to a high school counselor, teacher, or coach for information on college entrance requirements (86 vs. 83 percent). A higher percentage of female than male college aspirants consulted college websites, publications, or search guides for information on college entrance requirements (80 vs. 68 percent). This pattern held for Whites (82 vs. 70 percent), Blacks (80 vs. 64 percent), Hispanics (68 vs. 55 percent), Asians (84 vs. 75 percent), and those of two or more races (85 vs. 70 percent). Also, a higher percentage of females than males consulted college representatives for information about college entrance requirements (62 vs. 55 percent). This pattern was also found for White and Hispanic males and females.

Postsecondary School Choice Factors

In 2004, among the 93 percent of high school seniors with postsecondary aspirations, 67 percent reported that the availability of courses was very important to them when selecting an educational institution. Seniors with postsecondary aspirations also reported the following as very important choice factors: low expenses (36 percent), the availability of financial aid (57 percent), and an institution's academic reputation (58 percent). Higher percentages of females than males considered all of these school choice factors to be very important to their school choice.

However, higher percentages of males than females reported other postsecondary choice factors as very important. Among seniors with postsecondary aspirations, 15 percent thought an institution's athletic program was very important, and 30 percent thought an institution's social life was very important. Higher percentages of males than females reported athletic programs (19 vs. 11 percent) and social life (33 vs. 27 percent) as very important. A similar pattern was found for Whites, Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, and students of two or more races for an institution's athletic programs and for Whites, Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, and American Indians/Alaska Natives for its social life.

Some 83 percent of students who were high school seniors in 2004 had applied to college by 2006. A lower percentage of males applied to college than females (79 vs. 87 percent)a pattern that held for Whites (81 vs. 88 percent), Blacks (77 vs. 85 percent), and Hispanics (73 vs. 82 percent). No measurable differences between males and females were found for Asians, American Indians/Alaska Natives, and students of two or more races.

Figure 5. Percentage of 2004 high school seniors who had applied to college by 2006, by race/ethnicity and sex: 2006

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