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15 Things You Need to Know About College Students

If you rely on the media to keep you updated on college issues, you probably assume that most smart teens are trying to get admitted to the same elite schools that are rejecting almost everyone.

In reality, however, most students attend schools that welcome the vast majority of applicants. Very few students include Ivy League institutions on their wish lists and the schools that attract the most interest are community colleges.

These realities are born out by the statistics in the latest almanac published yearly by The Chronicle of Higher Education. To help you develop a more realistic view of the higher-ed world, I'm sharing 15 facts about college students from the latest almanac statistics:

1. Only .4% of all college students attend one of the eight Ivy League schools. That's about the same percentage of students who are enrolled at Miami Dade College.

2. The Ivy League stat didn't surprise me, but this one was a shocker: 9.4% of all college students attend community college in California! That's nearly three million students.

3. Only 13% of public universities accept less than 50% of their applicants.

4. Only 18% of private schools accept less than 50% of their applicants.

5. Student from wealthier families with incomes of at least $108,000 earn 55% of bachelor's degree compared to the bottom income quartile of students (7%).

6. Eighty two percent of students from families in the highest income quartile earn bachelor's degrees compared with eight percent for the poorest Americans.

7. Thirty five percent of college students attend part time.

8. More than 39% of all college students attend community colleges.

9. The poorest students (those whose families make less than $40,000) enroll at community colleges (50%), for-profit colleges (15.3%) and less selective four-year state schools (15.9%).

10. More than 10% of college freshmen hope to become medical doctors while even more - 19% - want to earn a PhD.

11. Among college freshmen, 41.4% hope to eventually earn a master's degree.

12. One out of every five freshmen must take at least one remedial course in reading, writing or math.

13. Catholics (26.6%) represent the largest religious group among college students, but the second largest (23%) represents students who didn't cite any religion.

14. Thirty eight percent of students at public four-year colleges graduate without debt while 28% graduate debt free at private schools.

15. Among public university graduates, 12% graduate owing $30,000 or more while 25% fall into that category at private institutions.

Lynn O'Shaughnessy is author of The College Solution, an Amazon bestseller, and the Shrinking the Cost of College workbook. She also writes her own college blog at The College Solution.

More on CBS MoneyWatch:

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The Nation's 25 Most Expensive Colleges and Universities
Are Only 1 out of 4 Freshmen Ready for College?
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