We surveyed more than 315,000 Niche seniors at nearly 50,000 high schools, and here’s what the data revealed.
Note: The Niche user base tends to skew more toward higher-achieving students, so their top colleges and standardized test scores will be above the national average.
Top 10 Most Popular Colleges for the Class of 2014
|1||A -||University of Texas - Austin||Austin||TX||33,128||Public|
|2||A||University of California - Los Angeles||Los Angeles||CA||27,365||Public|
|3||A||New York University||New York||NY||21,247||Private|
|5||A||University of Southern California||Los Angeles||CA||17,619||Private|
|6||A +||Vanderbilt University||Nashville||TN||6,731||Private|
|7||A +||University of Pennsylvania||Philadelphia||PA||10,324||Private|
|8||A +||Yale University||New Haven||CT||5,393||Private|
|9||B +||University of Georgia||Athens||GA||24,496||Public|
|10||A -||University of Miami||Coral Gables||FL||9,979||Private|
Top 10 Most Popular Majors for the Class of 2014
|8||Registered Nursing (RN)|
|10||Political Science and Government|
Other trends discovered from this data dive:
1. Business is the most popular prospective major across the board.
This is noteworthy data considering a recent piece from Businessweek, which showed that across all academic disciplines, the major that saw the biggest salary increase was business. Are high school students becoming more informed and heading where the money is? Or is the improving economy making students braver when it comes to working in business fields?
2. Differences between public and private high schools – Average SAT/ACT scores of Niche users:
SAT Math 606 609 649
SAT Verbal 602 618 650
SAT Writing 600 619 654
ACT Math 26 26 28
ACT English 27 28 29
ACT Reading 27 28 29
ACT Science 26 26 28
Among Niche users, we found a statistically significant difference between SAT/ACT scores of students at public high schools versus students at private non-religious high schools, with students scoring lower at public high schools.
3. All students seem to be considering the same high-profile (and expensive) schools.
The University of Southern California is No. 4 in the Niche ranking of Schools with the Highest Tuition. While both Yale University and University of Pennsylvania are both Ivy League schools, they are also in the top 25 Niche schools where it’s Hardest to Get In.
4. Humanities majors are not all that well-represented when it comes to the top 10 majors students are considering.
The humanities crisis has been in the news recently, especially with the report “The Heart of the Matter,” which calls for an increased “investment in research and discovery” when it comes to humanities academic disciplines.This Niche data supports recent progressions toward STEM majors and study, as highlighted in this Inside Higher Ed article that states: “The data suggest a clear national trend away from the humanistic disciplines toward those that seem to offer a different kind of promise or outcome: a vocational utility or practical applicability.”
5. Yet, the humanities disciplines seem to be more valued by students attending private institutions.
Communications and English majors both appear in the top 10 prospective majors for high school seniors at both private religious and private non-religious high schools, whereas neither major appears in the top 10 prospective majors for public high school seniors.
Despite college tuition and expenses being the highest they’ve ever been, it doesn’t seem to be deterring class of 2014 students from considering some of the most selective and expensive schools in the country, with University of Texas Austin costing significantly more for out-of-state students than in-state students. Recognizable college names are meaningful to Niche users, with 48 percent of those surveyed reporting that it’s “extremely important” in their college search.