Popular colleges, trending majors, and SAT/ACT scores of the class of 2014
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
- University of Texas – Austin
- University of California – Los Angeles
- New York University
- Georgetown University
- University of Southern California
- Vanderbilt University
- University of Pennsylvania
- Yale University
- University of Georgia
- University of Miami
Top 10 Most Popular College Majors for the Class of 2014
- Pre-Medicine Studies
- Business management
- Registered Nursing (RN)
- Physical therapy
- Political science and government
Other trends discovered from this data dive:
- Business is the most popular prospective major across the board.
This is interesting 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?
- Differences between Public and Private High Schools – Average SAT/ACT scores of Niche users
Public Private Religious Private Non-Religious Math: 606 Math: 609 Math: 649 Verbal: 602 Verbal: 618 Verbal: 650 Writing: 600 Writing: 619 Writing: 654 Math: 26 Math: 26 Math: 28 English: 27 English: 28 English: 29 Reading: 27 Reading: 28 Reading: 29 Science: 26 Science: 26 Science: 28
- All students seem to be considering the same high-profile (and expensive) schools.
- 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.”
- 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.
Public Private Religious Private Non-Religious Business Business Business Pre-Medicine Studies Pre-Medicine Studies Pre-Medicine Studies Biology Biology Psychology Psychology Engineering Engineering Nursing Psychology Economics Engineering Nursing Biology Registered nursing Business management English Business management Political science and government Political science and government Physical therapy Communications Business management Psychology and counseling English Communications
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.
The University of Southern California is No. 25 in the College Prowler 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 College Prowler schools where it’s Hardest to Get In.
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.