Morning Consult Survey, Commissioned by College Board, Reveals Attitudes Toward College and the Admissions Process Since the Pandemic

Students and parents throughout the country and across racial backgrounds believe a college degree holds just as much—or more—value now as it did before the pandemic according to a survey by Morning Consult.  

The survey, commissioned by College Board, explored views and attitudes on college and the admission process since the onset of the pandemic based on a representative sample of just over 1,000 16-18-year-old U.S. high school students and 605 of their parents. In addition to validating the value of a college education, respondents believe the college admissions process is both difficult and fair. In today’s test optional admissions environment, more than 80% of respondents say they want the choice to send their test scores to colleges.  

Morning Consult Survey Key Findings 

Views on the Value of College and Preparation

The majority of high school students and parents surveyed—over 70% of students and 77% of parents—believe a college degree is as or more valuable than it was before the pandemic.  

Nearly 80% of U.S. high school students reported being at least somewhat likely to attend a 4-year college within three years of graduating high school.  

Two out of three students who plan to attend college say that their primary reason for wanting to do so is to get the job they want. 

When it comes to feeling ready for college, most parents and students (56% and 54%, respectively) only feel “somewhat prepared” for college. Just 12% of students and 20% of parents reported feeling they/their child is “very prepared” for college, and 31% of students and 21% of parents chose “not too prepared” or “not prepared at all.” (4% of both students and parents answered “don’t know/no opinion.”) 

Opinions on the College Admissions Process

Most high school students and parents believe the college admissions process is both difficult and fair.  

While parents across income levels are equally likely to agree that the college admissions process is fair (61%), those with income levels below $50K are more likely to strongly agree (26%) than parents with higher income levels (17%). 64% of students and approximately 60% of parents think the admissions process is generally difficult.   

Parents and students across demographics agree that college entrance exams are second only to GPA in providing students the most equal opportunity to showcase their strengths over other admissions criteria.  

Lower- and mid-income parents (50% and 51%, respectively), are more likely than high-income (39%) parents to say scores on college entrance exams provide students the most equal opportunity to showcase their strengths. 

More than 80% of students and parents across racial and gender demographics want the option to send their scores for college admission, either as optional or required. When exploring how exams should be used in admissions:  

  • 70% of students and 57% of parents prefer SAT/ACT be optional for admissions.
  • 11% of students and 26% of parents prefer SAT/ACT be required for college admissions.
  • 19% of students and 17% of parents prefer students not be permitted to submit SAT/ACT scores for admissions.  

The survey also allowed students to share their thoughts about having the option to submit SAT/ACT scores for admission. Some examples of these responses include:  

  • “Some students can benefit from submitting them, but others shouldn’t be punished if they didn’t do well.” – Student respondent 
  • “It should be an option so that students have a choice in the matter.” – Student respondent 


About the Survey 

The research was conducted in fall 2022 by Morning Consult on behalf of College Board to understand the perspectives of students and parents on post pandemic college admissions. This study, based on a nationally representative sample of approximately 1,006 16–18-year-old U.S. high school students and 605 of their parents surveyed in August and September of 2022, provides unique insights on what parents and students want from the college admissions process – particularly with respect to college entrance exams. Full results are available here.