Clearly, the economy is playing a much larger rolein this year's admissions cycle across the board than it has in yearspast. Sixty-seven percent of respondents reported that the currenteconomic crisis has affected their choices of where to apply. However,applicants are addressing this challenge in different ways: 38 percentsaid that they were applying to schools with "lower sticker prices,"like public colleges and state universities; 34 percent said they wereapplying to more "financial aid safety" schools, or schools at whichthey know they will receive substantial financial aid; and 28 percentsaid they were applying to programs closer to home to save on travelcosts and, potentially, cut out room and board all together by livingat home. When asked about their worst-case scenario, students didn'tmention not getting into their dream school--the typical response formost college aspirants. Instead, in the words of one student, thebiggest fear is that he "will get [his] into first-choice college, butwon't have sufficient funds/financial aid to attend it."
Interestingly, this shift in applicants' worstnightmares has changed the way they look at their dreams as well. Aspart of the College Hopes and Worries Survey, Princeton Review asksstudents and their parents "What 'dream college' do you wish you (yourchild) could attend if acceptance or cost weren't issues?" From 2004 to2007, New York University topped the top-10 dream school list forstudents. This year, it is in the No. 5 spot, following some more"traditional," internationally prestigious universities—Stanford,Harvard, Columbia and Princeton (in that order). For parents, NYU is inthe No. 6 spot, after Harvard, Stanford, Princeton, Notre Dame andYale. Some could argue this reflects a change in how students viewtheir college experience—that students are looking to top-name,academic universities with tried and true postgraduate employmentprospects. Students are considering their financial situation not onlyfor college, but beyond.
Princeton Review also asked students if they hadany advice for future college students about the admission process.Says one respondent: "It's hard. Take up yoga."
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