College Attendance Motivations in a Post-Pandemic Environment

What motivates college prospects today?

With the continued impact of a historic pandemic, considerable economic and political unease, and a shift in student demographics, now is the time to better understand why students are attending college. We surveyed 3,800 students about the many internal and external factors that influenced their choice to go to college.

This report includes data on student personalities, intrinsic and extrinsic motivations, and perceptions on what higher education means today. We examined motivations across a wide variety of demographics and personalities to get to the core of why students go to college.

College Attendance Motivations in a Post-Pandemic Environment

College Attendance Motivations in a Post-Pandemic Environment

We’ve broken down the report into two parts. The first is our primary report–it’s our big picture observations and takeaways. The second is a supplemental document of data tables and detailed breakouts by demographics, geography, and personality. 

Key Insights

  •  55% of students started actively seeking information about colleges before the end of their sophomore year
  • Learning and career outcomes are the strongest motivations for students to attend college, however, other factors such as the college experience and impact on society were top selections for more than 10% of students each.
  • Key factors of college choice have shifted since before the pandemic, including a rise in importance for campus feel (21% to 27%) and campus safety (9% to 18%) and a drop for prestige (12% to 5%)
  • Only 14% of incoming students in 2022 felt completely prepared to start college

Download the report.