College Type Preference Match

Among college-enrolled ACT-tested students, 73% with a 2-year college preference, 63% with a public 4-year college preference, and 56% with a private 4-year college preference attend a college that matches their preferred type.

Percent of College-Enrolled ACT-Tested High School Graduates Who Enrolled at Various College Types by College Type Preference and State ACT Participation Rate, 2012

  • As state ACT participation rate increases, so does the share of ACT-tested students who attend a college that matches their 2-year college preference.
  • Conversely, the share of ACT-tested students who attend a college that matches their private 4-year college preference decreases as state ACT participation rate increases.
  • Statewide administration states are an exception to these patterns.
Chart showing Percent of College-Enrolled ACT-Tested High School Graduates Who Enrolled at Various College Types by College Type Preference and State ACT Participation Rate, 2012

Graph reads: 31% of college-enrolled ACT-tested students from states administering the ACT statewide who preferred to attend a public 4-year college attend a 2-year college instead.

Note: Based on 88% of college-enrolled ACT-tested high school graduates for whom college type preference is available. Percentages within stacked bars may not sum to 100 due to rounding.

2-Year College Preferred
State ACT Participation Rate2-Year EnrolledPublic 4-Year EnrolledPrivate 4-Year Enrolled
Less than 26%54%26%20%
26%–50%67%24%9%
51%–75%67%25%7%
76%–100%81%15%3%
Statewide (100%)77%14%10%

Public 4-Year College Preferred
State ACT Participation Rate2-Year EnrolledPublic 4-Year EnrolledPrivate 4-Year Enrolled
Less than 26%18%64%17%
26%–50%23%62%15%
51%–75%21%67%13%
76%–100%29%64%7%
Statewide (100%)31%55%14%

Private 4-Year College Preferred
State ACT Participation Rate2-Year EnrolledPublic 4-Year EnrolledPrivate 4-Year Enrolled
Less than 26%8%33%60%
26%–50%7%32%61%
51%–75%10%36%54%
76%–100%13%41%46%
Statewide (100%)16%33%51%

Note: Based on 88% of college-enrolled ACT-tested high school graduates for whom college type preference is available. Percentages within table rows may not sum to 100 due to rounding.


Percent of College-Enrolled ACT-Tested High School Graduates Who Enrolled at Various College Types by College Type Preference and ACT Composite Score, 2012

  • As ACT Composite score increases, the share of students who attend a college that matches their 2-year college preference decreases.
  • The share of students who attend a college that matches either their public or private 4-year college preference increases as ACT Composite score increases.
Chart showing Percent of College-Enrolled ACT-Tested High School Graduates Who Enrolled at Various College Types by College Type Preference and ACT Composite Score, 2012

Graph reads: 43% of college-enrolled ACT-tested students with an ACT Composite score in the range of 1–15 who preferred to attend a private 4-year college attend a 2-year college instead.

Note: Based on 88% of college-enrolled ACT-tested high school graduates for whom college type preference is available. Percentages within stacked bars may not sum to 100 due to rounding.

2-Year College Preferred
ACT Composite Score Range2-Year EnrolledPublic 4-Year EnrolledPrivate 4-Year Enrolled
1–1581%13%6%
16–1977%17%7%
20–2368%23%9%
24–2757%30%14%
28–3239%39%22%
33–3619%47%35%

Public 4-Year College Preferred
ACT Composite Score Range2-Year EnrolledPublic 4-Year EnrolledPrivate 4-Year Enrolled
1–1555%35%9%
16–1937%51%11%
20–2322%65%13%
24–2712%74%15%
28–325%78%17%
33–361%76%22%

Private 4-Year College Preferred
ACT Composite Score Range2-Year EnrolledPublic 4-Year EnrolledPrivate 4-Year Enrolled
1–1543%27%29%
16–1925%33%43%
20–2313%35%52%
24–276%35%59%
28–322%35%63%
33–361%32%67%

Note: Based on 88% of college-enrolled ACT-tested high school graduates for whom college type preference is available. Percentages within table rows may not sum to 100 due to rounding.


Percent of College-Enrolled ACT-Tested High School Graduates Who Enrolled at Various College Types by College Type Preference and Parent Education Level, 2012

  • The share of ACT-tested students who attend a college that matches either their public or private 4-year college preference increases with parent education level.
  • The share of ACT-tested students who attend a college that matches their 2-year college preference decreases as parent education level increases.
Chart showing Percent of College-Enrolled ACT-Tested High School Graduates Who Enrolled at Various College Types by College Type Preference and Parent Education Level, 2012

Graph reads: 21% of college-enrolled ACT-tested students whose parents earned a bachelor’s degree and who preferred to attend a 2-year college attend a public 4-year college instead.

Note: Based on 81% of college-enrolled ACT-tested high school graduates for whom college type preference and parent education level are available. Percentages within stacked bars may not sum to 100 due to rounding.

2-Year College Preferred
Parent Education Level2-Year EnrolledPublic 4-Year EnrolledPrivate 4-Year Enrolled
No College76%17%7%
Some College74%18%7%
Bachelor's Degree70%21%9%
Graduate Degree66%23%11%

Public 4-Year College Preferred
Parent Education Level2-Year EnrolledPublic 4-Year EnrolledPrivate 4-Year Enrolled
No College36%53%11%
Some College31%57%12%
Bachelor's Degree20%67%14%
Graduate Degree14%71%16%

Private 4-Year College Preferred
Parent Education Level2-Year EnrolledPublic 4-Year EnrolledPrivate 4-Year Enrolled
No College21%40%39%
Some College17%36%47%
Bachelor's Degree9%35%56%
Graduate Degree5%32%64%

Note: Based on 81% of college-enrolled ACT-tested high school graduates for whom college type preference and parent education level are available. Percentages within table rows may not sum to 100 due to rounding.


Percent of College-Enrolled ACT-Tested High School Graduates Who Enrolled at Various College Types by College Type Preference and Degree Plans, 2012

  • As degree aspirations increase, the percentage of ACT-tested students who attend a college that matches their 2-year college preference decreases.
  • The share of ACT-tested students who attend a college that matches either their public or private 4-year college preference increases with their degree aspirations.
Chart showing Percent of College-Enrolled ACT-Tested High School Graduates Who Enrolled at Various College Types by College Type Preference and Degree Plans, 2012

Graph reads: 36% of college-enrolled ACT-tested students who plan to earn a graduate degree and who preferred to attend a private 4-year college attend a public 4-year college instead.

Note: Based on 86% of college-enrolled ACT-tested high school graduates for whom college type preference and degree plans are available. Percentages within stacked bars may not sum to 100 due to rounding.

2-Year College Preferred
Degree Plans2-Year EnrolledPublic 4-Year EnrolledPrivate 4-Year Enrolled
Less Than Bachelor's Degree80%14%6%
Bachelor's Degree74%19%8%
Graduate Degree60%29%12%

Public 4-Year College Preferred
Degree Plans2-Year EnrolledPublic 4-Year EnrolledPrivate 4-Year Enrolled
Less Than Bachelor's Degree56%34%10%
Bachelor's Degree29%58%12%
Graduate Degree17%69%15%

Private 4-Year College Preferred
Degree Plans2-Year EnrolledPublic 4-Year EnrolledPrivate 4-Year Enrolled
Less Than Bachelor's Degree40%26%34%
Bachelor's Degree16%31%54%
Graduate Degree7%36%57%

Note: Based on 86% of college-enrolled ACT-tested high school graduates for whom college type preference and degree plans are available. Percentages within table rows may not sum to 100 due to rounding.