Last Updated Jan 29, 2010 7:33 PM EST
Every year the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA attempts to answer that question. The institute recently released its annual survey of nearly 220,000 freshmen, who attend 1,555 four-year colleges and universities.
As I was reading through the report, I pulled out some fascinating factoids about college freshmen, who graduated from high school in 2009.
Here is a brief glimpse at today's college freshmen:
- 79% were accepted by their No. 1 college.
- 61% are attending their No. 1 choice.
- 67% applied to four or less colleges.
- 14% are attending college more than 500 miles from home.
- 35% are attending college that's 50 miles or less from home.
- 48% graduated from high school with an A- or better grade point average.
- 24% expect to need tutoring or remedial help with math.
- 29% are liberal.
- 22% are conservative.
- 68% took at least one Advanced Placement class in high school.
- 42% want to obtain a master's degree.
- 10% hope to become a veterinarian, dentist or physician.
- 18% want to earn a Ph.D.
- 14% expect to major in business.
- 30% estimated that their parents' income was less than $50,000.
- 12% estimated that their parents' income was $200,000 or higher.
- 4% have unemployed fathers.
- 8% have unemployed mothers.
- 53% have borrowed to attend college.
- 49% are working to pay for college.
Lynn O'Shaughnessy is the author of The College Solution and she also writes a college blog for TheCollegeSolutionBlog. Follow her on Twitter.