College students rank their prime 10 faculties forward of choice day

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts

(Photo: Bloomberg/Getty Images)

With an acceptance rate of just under 4%, Massachusetts Institute of Technology is the ultimate dream school, according to a new survey of college students and their families.

However, it’s not only one of the most difficult schools to reach, it’s also one of the most expensive institutions in the country — tuition and fees, room and board, and other student expenses totaled more than $79,000 this year.

At the same time, most college students and their parents now say that affordability and dealing with the burden of debt that often accompanies a college degree are their top concerns, even when it comes to getting into the school of their choice, so The Princeton Review’s 2023 Poll of College Hopes and Concerns.

Most of the colleges that top students’ wish lists are “permanent favorites,” according to Robert Franek, editor-in-chief of The Princeton Review. They’re also among the most competitive: Stanford’s acceptance rate is also just under 4%; at Harvard it is about 3%.

In the wake of the pandemic, a small group of universities, including many in the Ivy League, have seen a record-breaking surge in applications this season, according to a Common Application report.

National College Decision Day is upon us

As admissions letters trickle in, students have just a few weeks to decide their next step before National College Decision Day on June 1.

At this point, they must pay a non-refundable deposit to secure their place at the school of their choice.

But the biggest problem remains how they pay for their studies. A whopping 98% of families said financial assistance was necessary to pay for college, and 82% said it was “extremely” or “very” necessary, The Princeton Review found.

“Financial aid is needed now more than ever,” said Franek.

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Don’t base your decision on sticker price alone

Still, “Never cross an expensive school off your list just because of the price of the sticker,” Franek said. Consider the amount of aid available, as private schools usually have more money to spend.

“A lot of these schools give substantial scholarships — that’s free money.”

For example, MIT offers generous aid packages for those who qualify. Last year, the average annual fee paid by a student on financial assistance was less than $20,000, the school said.

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