States with Highest Representation at Elite Colleges: 2013

US map by populationLast year I looked at the state of origin for the freshman class at 19 nationally recognized colleges. This year I’ve changed the list and expanded it to 25. No real methodology involved, I just wanted to include schools from different areas.?  Basically, I wanted to get an idea of how likely students at these schools would be interacting with a national cross-section of students as opposed to mostly students from the same region.

The data is based on the “residence and migration of first-time freshman” from the Integrated Post-Secondary Education System (IPEDS). The table below shows the top five states of origin for freshman by percentage for 25 private colleges and universities.

stats of origins for elite colleges

The changed list didn’t reveal anything different from last time. The largest sources of students for each college tends to be their own state. Only eight schools had the largest number from states other than their own and three of them were from nearby states with much larger populations.

Of the three Ivy League institutions, Brown, Harvard, and Princeton, California residents made up the largest percentage of the freshman class. However, both Harvard and New Jersey had students from their own states in second place. And while Rhode Island residents only came in at fifth for Brown, given the state’s population, there is still some serious disproportionate representation going on.

The other two colleges that didn’t have their own states as the largest contingent of freshman are Middlebury and Oberlin Colleges. You can make the case for a strong regional influence but California does show up in the top five for both schools.

In fact, California ranks in the top five for 24 of the 25 schools. Not surprising given that it is the most populous state.?  Nor is New York’s presence in the top five for 23 of the 25 schools. What is surprising (not really, since I did this last year but you get what I mean) is that Texas is in the top five for only eleven schools. The second largest state in terms of population, is tied with an Illinois, a state with only half its population.

Even after more than a decade of the “Top 10%” rule that critics warned would drive the best and brightest from Texas schools, Texas students are the largest group at only one of the 25 schools, Rice. Texas managed to come in second at only two schools, Stanford and USC. New York placed ahead of Texas at Washington University in St. Louis, Vanderbilt, Tulane, and Emory.

So what’s the deal? Maybe New Yorkers have access to better airfares? Whatever the problem, Florida appears to have the same problem. It’s the fourth most populous state, about the same as New York, and it shows up in the top five for only five schools.

Of course, as someone who graduated from a Texas high school and has two degrees from Texas (Hook ’em) and a long time observer of the Texas State Board of Education, I’m pretty sure this is exactly the way they want it.

Leave a Reply