Survey: Many Americans Would Change Their College Choices

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Although most American degree holders believe they received a quality education, more than a quarter say they would attend a different college if they had it all to do over, a new national poll shows.

A survey of 89,492 US adults by Gallup and the Strada Education Network found that 28 percent of respondents wish they would have selected a different institution. And given the chance, 36 percent would have chosen a different major.

“If individuals struggle to translate their field of study into their chosen career, they may be more likely to say they would choose a different field of study if given the chance,” report authors note. “These data suggest that the current landscape of information available to consumers may be insufficient for them to make the education decisions that best align with their goals.”

Other key findings include:

  • Individuals with some college but no degree are the most likely to say they would select a different institution, major, or degree choice.
  • Individuals who borrowed larger amounts of student loans to pay for undergraduate training are more likely to report they would make different educational decisions.
  • Individuals who attended a for-profit institution at the sub-baccalaureate level or who attended a private, nonprofit institution at the two-year level are more likely to regret their decisions than those who earned credentials from other institutions.

“The results shared in this report present a starting point for policymakers, postsecondary education leaders, and other stakeholders to engage in an important conversation about how we can help education consumers find their purpose, pursue the best education path aligned with that purpose, and complete their path to achieve their desired career,” survey authors note.

Read the full report.

Admitted writer/editor Mary Stegmeir welcomes additional comments and story ideas at mstegmeir@nacacnet.org.

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