Skip Navigation
PEDAR: Executive Summary  Waiting to Attend College: Students Who Delay Their Postsecondary Enrollment
An Overview of Delaye Entrants
High School Dropout Risk Factors and Academic Preparation
Duration of Delay
Student Characteristics
Enrollment Characteristics
Why They Enrolled
Overall Persistence and Attainment
Research Methodology
Full Report (PDF)
Executive Summary (PDF)

When examining programs of postsecondary study among delayed entrants in relation to the length of time they waited to enroll, clear patterns emerged. For example, the likelihood of being enrolled in a bachelor’s degree program declined with each successive delay group from 30 percent among those who delayed a year to 8 percent of those who delayed 10 or more years (table 6). Conversely, the longer students delayed enrollment, the more likely they were to be pursuing a program leading to a vocational certificate, from about one-quarter (23 percent) of those who delayed a year to nearly one-half (45 percent) of those who delayed 10 or more years. Delayed entrants reported relatively high educational expectations, but they also varied by length of delay. When asked to report the highest level of education they ever expected to complete, nearly 6 in 10 delayed entrants reported aspirations for a bachelor’s degree (28 percent) or an advanced degree (29 percent). Aspirations for advanced degrees, however, declined with the length of time between high school graduation and postsecondary enrollment—from 42 percent of those who delayed 1 year to 13 percent of those who delayed a decade or more—while aspirations for credentials below a bachelor’s degree increased proportionately from 13 percent to 48 percent as delay increased. The results indicate that as delayed entrants age, they tend to look to postsecondary education for vocational training, while those who delay shorter periods of time continue to report aspirations for bachelor’s or even advanced degrees.

next section