Skip Navigation
Data
Point
U.S. Department of Education NCES 2017-013 August 2017
College Applications of 2009 High School Freshmen: Differences by Race/Ethnicity

The High School Longitudinal Study of 2009 (HSLS:09) is a nationally representative, longitudinal study of over 23,000 9 th-graders from 944 public and private schools in 2009. This study follows students throughout their secondary and postsecondary years, examining student trajectories, major/career paths, and STEM interest. The study’s Base Year was 2009, the First Follow-up was conducted in 2012, when most of the sample members were 11th-graders, and a brief Update was conducted in 2013, when most sample members would have completed high school.

What percentage of 2009 high school freshmen had applied for college as of fall 2013?

FIGURE 1. Fall 2013 postsecondary application status of 2009 high school freshmen, by race/ethnicity

FIGURE 1. Fall 2013 postsecondary application status of 2009
high school freshmen, by race/ethnicity

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, High School Longitudinal Study of 2009 (HSLS:09) 2013 Update File (NCES 2015-038).

In 2013, young adults who had been freshmen in 2009 were asked about their postsecondary educational plans. Sample members or their parents1 were asked to provide information about high school completion, including receipt of alternative credentials such as a GED.2 Respondents were then asked about the 2009 freshman’s plans for the fall, including postsecondary enrollment. Key questions included whether the young adult had applied or registered for admission at postsecondary institutions and the number of postsecondary applications/ registrations.3 Most 2009 freshmen (79 percent) had applied or registered for postsecondary education as of fall 2013. Results are reported here by race/ethnicity (Figure 1).

  • Asian/Pacific Islander students had the highest percentage of postsecondary applicants/ registrants, at 91 percent. American Indian/Alaska Native students had the lowest percentage of postsecondary applicants/registrants at 63 percent.
  • Black students applied/registered at postsecondary institutions at a rate of 76 percent, and White students at a rate of 81 percent.
  • American Indian/Alaska Native young adults had the highest percentage of high school noncompleters (27 percent) as of 2013.

FIGURE 2. Number of postsecondary applications among 2009 high school freshmen who applied to or registered in at least one postsecondary institution as of fall 2013, by race/ethnicity

FIGURE 2. Number of postsecondary applications among 2009
high school freshmen who applied to or registered in at least one
postsecondary institution as of fall 2013, by race/ethnicity

NOTE: American Indian/Alaska Native sample members are not pictured here due to low counts.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics. High School Longitudinal Study of 2009 (HSLS:09) 2013 Update Data File (NCES 2015-038).

How many postsecondary institutions did 2009 high school freshmen apply to or register for?

In 2013, respondents who reported at least one application for admission to or registration at a postsecondary institution for the fall of 2013 were asked to report the number of applications or registrations. Among those who reported applying to or registering for at least one institution, the mean number of applications reported was 2.9. Results are reported here by race/ethnicity (Figure 2).

  • A large portion of sample members across racial/ethnic groups applied to/registered at only one postsecondary institution for fall 2013. Forty -three percent of Hispanics/Latinos, 40 percent of Whites, and 37 percent of Blacks applied to/registered at only one institution. In comparison, a smaller percentage of Asian/ Pacific Islanders (26 percent) applied to/registered at only one postsecondary institution than did other racial/ethnic groups.
  • Percentages of students reporting two, three, four, or five or more applications were generally substantially lower than the percentage reporting only one application. This was true across the racial/ethnic groups. An exception was Asian/ Pacific Islanders, of whom 38 percent reported five or more postsecondary applications.
  • Two applications/registrations were reported by 17 percent of Whites, 15 percent of Hispanic/ Latinos and 15 percent of Blacks. In contrast, 12 percent of Asian/ Pacific Islanders reported two applications/registrations.
  • Among Black sample members, 23 percent reported five or more applications/registrations. In comparison, 19 percent of White and 18 percent of Hispanic/Latino sample members applied to or registered at five or more institutions.

Endnotes

1 Respondents to the 2013 Update could have been the sample member or a parent.
2 General Educational Development (GED) certificate.
3 Sample members were asked to report their numbers of applications or registrations as of November 1, 2013 to help assure that respondents were reporting for comparable time periods regardless of the date on which the survey was completed. Applications are reported for institutions with selective admissions, while registrations are reported for nonselective institutions.

Data in this report are from the 2013 Update of the High School Longitudinal Study of 2009 (HSLS:09), a nationally representative sample survey of high school students. To learn more, visit https://nces.ed.gov/surveys/hsls09/. For questions about content or to view this report online, go to https://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2017013.

This NCES Data Point presents information of education topics of current interest. It was authored by Elise Christopher of NCES. Estimates based on samples are subject to sampling variability, and apparent differences may not be statistically significant. All stated differences are statistically significant at the .05 level. In the design, conduct, and data processing of National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) surveys, efforts are made to minimize effects of non-sampling errors, such as item response, measurement error, data processing error, or other systematic error.