A Profile of Delayed-Entry Students

Six percent of the ACT-tested high school graduating class of 2012 attended college after delaying for one year.

Profile of Direct-Entry and Delayed-Entry Students

  • Delayed-entry students were more likely than direct-entry students to be first-generation college students, to be a member of a historically underrepresented racial/ethnic group (i.e., African American, American Indian, and Hispanic students), and to have a lower family income.
  • Delayed-entry students also had lower ACT Composite scores and were less likely to plan on earning at least a bachelor’s degree.
 Direct-EntryDelayed-Entry
Number1,172,602104,825
Percent of 2012 ACT-Tested High School Graduating Class706
ACT Composite Score22.220.0
Percent First Generation College Students1522
Percent Underrepresented Minority2534
Percent with Family Income Less than $60K3646
Percent Who Plan to Earn a Bachelor’s Degree or Higher8881

Note: Based on ACT-tested high school graduates from the class of 2012. “Underrepresented Minority” comprised African American, American Indian, and Hispanic students.


Distribution of Direct-Entry and Delayed-Entry Students by College Type Preferred and College Type Attended

  • Whereas only 6% of direct-entry students preferred a 2-year college, 12% of delayed-entry students preferred this college type.
  • Although the college type preferences of delayed- and direct-entry students are generally similar, the college type destinations of these students differ substantially.
  • When comparing the bracketed information to the percentage of students who preferred each college type, we find that delayed-entry students were less likely than their direct-entry peers to attend a college that matched their college type preference.
Chart showing Distribution of Direct-Entry and Delayed-Entry Students by
College Type Preferred and College Type Attended

Graph reads: Whereas 12% of delayed-entry ACT-tested students preferred a 2-year college, 50% of these students attended a 2-year college their first year.

Type Preferred/AttendedDirect-EntryDelayed-Entry
Preferred 2-year6%12%
Attended 2-year25%50%
Preferred Public 4-year75%72%
Attended Public 4-year54%33%
Preferred Private 4-year19%16%
Attended Private 4-year21%17%

Note: Based on 88% of direct-entry and 86% of delayed-entry ACT-tested high school graduates from the class of 2012 for whom college type preference is available.


Distribution of Direct-Entry and Delayed-Entry Students by College Location Preferred and College Location Attended

  • College location preferences and attendance patterns are similar for direct-entry and delayed-entry students.
  • When comparing the bracketed information to the percentage of students who preferred each college location, we find that delayed-entry and direct-entry students have about the same chances of attending a college that matched their in-state preference, but delayed-entry students were less likely than their direct-entry peers to attend a college that matched their out-of-state preference.
Chart showing Distribution of Direct-Entry and Delayed-Entry Students by College Location Preferred and College Location Attended

Graph reads: Whereas 75% of delayed-entry ACT-tested students preferred an in-state college, 82% of these students attended an in-state college in their first year.

Location Preferred/AttendedDirect-EntryDelayed-Entry
Preferred In State77%75%
Attended In State80%82%
Preferred Out of State23%25%
Attended Out of State20%18%

Note: Based on 86% of direct-entry and 83% of delayed-entry ACT-tested high school graduates from the class of 2012 for whom college location preference is available.


Distribution of Direct-Entry and Delayed-Entry Students by College Distance Preferred and College Distance Attended

  • Delayed-entry students were more likely than their peers to prefer a college within 25 miles of their home and were less likely to prefer a college located more than 100 miles from their home.
  • More than half of all delayed-entry students attended a college within 25 miles of their home, and this enrollment rate at nearby colleges is substantially larger than that of direct-entry students.
  • When comparing the bracketed information to the percentage of students who preferred each college distance, we find that delayed-entry students were less likely than their direct-entry peers to attend a college that matched their preference to attend college more than 25 miles from home.
Chart showing Distribution of Direct-Entry and Delayed-Entry Students by College Distance Preferred and College Distance Attended

Graph reads: Whereas 31% of delayed-entry ACT-tested students preferred a college within 25 miles of their home, 54% of these students attended a college within 25 miles of their home in their first year.

Distance Preferred/AttendedDirect-EntryDelayed-Entry
Preferred Less than 26 miles24%31%
Attended Less than 26 miles40%54%
Preferred 26–100 miles33%32%
Attended 26–100 miles28%22%
Preferred More than 100 miles43%38%
Attended More than 100 miles33%24%

Note: Based on 61% of direct-entry and 60% of delayed-entry ACT-tested high school graduates from the class of 2012 for whom college distance preference is available.