Diversity has claimed the top spot of what matter most to students when searching for a college, according to the Class of 2023 Fall Senior Survey reported by Niche. Responses from more than 20,000 graduating seniors revealed that 42 percent felt a diverse student body was “appealing” to them, with an additional 37 percent saying it was a “must-have” in their college experience.

As an institution steeped in diversity, Vaughn College explores some of the key takeaways of the survey and how they relate to the many ways in which Vaughn meets the needs and concerns of its diverse campus community.

Addressing “unnecessary barriers”

One of the key takeaways from the survey is how students from all walks of life are looking for simplicity and relevance when applying to college. Among the more than 20,000 responses, the overall theme was “meeting students where they are” by addressing the “unnecessary barriers” in the college application and admissions process.

Here are some of the areas students are struggling with:
  • Completing college applications
  • Navigating the college admissions process
  • Navigating college websites
How Vaughn overcomes these barriers:

At Vaughn, we cultivate a sense of belonging and have a genuine interest in the success of our students—without any barriers. If you have been considering applying to Vaughn, here are some of the ways we would help you to become a part of the Vaughn community:

  • Admissions counselors are available to help you with your application and answer any questions you may have about the admissions process. Schedule an appointment—via Zoom—with an admissions adviser.
  • Our state-of-the-art website is exciting and easy to navigate—with straightforward information on everything you need to know about our outstanding degree programs and how to become a Vaughn student.
  • Vaughn holds financial aid information sessions during key application periods to help students fill out the FAFSA®, apply for scholarships and navigate the financial aid universe.

College search

Campus visits:

Although most students begin their initial search for colleges online, the trend of attending campus tours is returning. According to the survey, 49 percent of students reported visiting a college and meeting with admissions. For under-resourced and first-generation students, this figure is lower—at below 40 percent.

How Vaughn focuses on the future:
  • Open House: Attending an open house is a great way to learn everything you need to know about us and our degree programs—all under one roof. From the admissions process and financial aid to our futureproof degree programs and student life, you’ll leave with all your questions answered—and then some. Check out our blog, “Top Questions to Ask During a College Open House.” There’s even a handy list of questions you can bring on your visits.
  • Student Voices Videos: Students want to hear from other students about why they love their college. We do just that through our Student Voices videos. Hear and see for yourself the reasons why Vaughn students are living their dreams in today’s futureproof fields.
  • Podcast: Tune into our podcast, FutureProof Focus, to hear from Vaughn alumni, among others, about how they landed successful careers and where they are now.
What students want to know about most:

As part of the survey, students ranked their top picks of what they want to learn most about when searching for colleges. Here are their top three choices—out of eight given topics:

  • Financial aid (56 percent)
  • Academics (55 percent)
  • Careers related to their major (53 percent)
How Vaughn meets your needs:
Underrepresented communities:

The survey revealed how under-resourced, first-generation and traditionally underrepresented students continue to fall behind in the college search process when compared to respondents in other categories where search is slightly ahead of last year. With 38 percent of students reporting that they have started the application process, the study revealed that these underrepresented groups were more likely to report feeling negative emotions about starting college. In fact, 97 percent reported they had fears about the college search process, with affordability being one of the top concerns. These findings confirm the need for more support in the college search process, with a focus on alleviating concerns of affordability.

Vaughn fast facts:
  • Ranked number one in upward mobility, nationwide***
  • Ranked as a top college for social mobility by U.S. News & World Report
  • Ranked in the top four percent of colleges with the highest return on investment (ROI) for students from under-resourced communities.†
Other important factors:
  • Availability of scholarships (98 percent)
  • Safe campus (96 percent)
  • Quality and variety of food options (93 percent)
How Vaughn addresses these factors:
  • Scholarships: Vaughn recognizes academic excellence by awarding scholarships to high-achieving students who are pursuing bachelor’s degrees. We offer several scholarship opportunities for those students meeting certain criteria.
  • Campus safety: Vaughn has long had a policy of making safety information and protocols readily available. Here is the latest information to date.
  • Kate’s Corner Café: Our new café boasts healthy and delicious menu options conveniently located on campus, with vegetarian, kosher and halal options available.
  • Financial Well-Being: We offer support, tips and resources for students about how to stay financially healthy during college.

How Vaughn meets you where you are

At Vaughn, we recognize, respect and celebrate all facets of diversity. We are committed to welcoming and embracing our diverse Vaughn College community with respect and dignity. That’s why—by respecting diversity in all its dimensions—we foster a community that invites and is inclusive of everyone.

Are you looking for a college that meets you where you are with degree programs that are career focused and futureproof? Contact us to schedule a visit or take a virtual tour today or register for Open House on March 18 at 10 a.m.


*Results of the survey were analyzed and compiled as a joint project between Niche and Tudor Collegiate Strategies.

**Outcomes include data within one year of graduation for graduates who reported via survey. There was a total of 314 graduates in 2021. 154 reported an outcome for an 49% response rate. The 2021 graduate class includes September 2020, December 2020 and May 2021.

***The Upshot, January 18, 2017, “Some Colleges Have More Students From the Top 1 Percent Than the Bottom 60.”

†Data from a study completed by Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce, “The Colleges Where Low-Income Students Get the Highest ROI”