If you think it’s nearly impossible for teenagers to get into most colleges and universities, here's some news: It’s not true!

Among this year's crop of freshman, 76% got accepted into their No. 1 school. The percentage of high school seniors who received acceptance letters from their top pick did dip slightly from 78.9% last year, but it's still a high percentage.

This is one of the facts that I plucked from the new UCLA survey of college freshman. UCLA's Higher Education Research Institute has been annually surveying college freshman attending four-year institutions since 1966, and the latest results represent the thinking of 1.5 million first-year students.

More Facts About Today's Freshmen

Here are nine more facts about today’s college freshmen:

1. While students who file large numbers of college applications tend to make the news, the percentage of teenagers who filed one or two applications (21%) was the same as those who filed eight or more (21%).

2. Most freshmen didn't stray far from home for college. Fifty five percent of freshmen selected schools that were no more than 100 miles away.

3. 14% of freshman were adventurous and are attending schools that are at least 500 miles away. Teenagers, by the way, can increase their chances of admission and merit scholarships if they look at schools in distant states.

4. College freshmen excel in self-confidence. Just about half of them concluded that they are either in the top 10% of their peers academically or above average in their academic ability.

5. Perhaps it's those inflated grade point averages that the freshmen received in high school that pumped up their egos. Nearly half of seniors graduated from high school with no less than an A- average.


6. Math is the typical freshman's weak link. A quarter predicted that they would need math tutoring.

7. A lower percentage of first-year students received scholarships and grants (68.5%) in 2011-2012 versus 73.4% for the previous class. About one in four freshmen received a scholarship worth at least $10,000.

8. Forty two percent of freshmen don't expect to stop at a bachelor's degree. They plan to earn a master's degree too.

9. Nearly 21% of students estimated that their parents made at least $150,000 a year while 18% of freshmen estimated that their parents earned less than $30,000.

Getting a $106,000 College Education for Free

Here's an idea for any of your clients who are stressed about paying for a college degree. Suggest that their teenagers apply to Antioch College in Yellow Springs, OH. http://antiochcollege.org/

Antioch College awarded four-year, full-tuition scholarships for every student in its last two crops of freshmen and it plans to do the same thing for teenagers who apply for the 2013-14 and 2014-15 school years. Based on the liberal arts college's current tuition, the deal is worth at least $106,000.

So what’s the catch?

Antioch, which was founded by abolitionists in 1850, believed it needed to sweeten the deal with prospective students because it’s returning from the dead. Antioch College was shuttered in 2008 after years of poor management decisions, academic missteps and dwindling enrollment. Loyal alumni were horrified and they were instrumental in pumping money into the institution that helped it open its doors last year for its first freshman class.

Making the FAFSA Nearly Painless

If your clients are filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid this spring, please share some good news with them. The FAFSA will be easier to complete this year thanks to the Internal Revenue Services. Yes, the IRS!

Actually the federal Department of Education and IRS have been trying for years to make the FAFSA less painful, but this year it’s finally happening due to technological advances.

Here's the big development: Once parents have filed their federal income taxes, they can retrieve the tax information pertinent to the FAFSA through an IRS data retrieval tool. With a click of a button on the FAFSA site, a parent will be transferred to the IRS website where he/she can direct the IRS to transfer the relevant figures to the FAFSA.

Completing the FAFSA with numbers directly from a family’s tax form is anticipated to not only make the process easier, but also cut down on errors. This should also make financial aid awards more accurate.

To be eligible to use the IRS tool, you need to meet these three criteria:

· You must have a Social Security number.
· You must have filed your 2011 federal tax return.
· You cannot have changed your marital status since Dec. 31, 2011.

This tool is more convenient for parents who file their taxes electronically. Electronic filers will have their IRS data ready to input into the FAFSA no more than two weeks later. For paper filers, there will be a six-to-eight week delay.