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NJ’s College-Bound Seniors, 2000 vs. 2010

What's changed in 10 years? The College Board’s report sheds light not just on SAT scores, but on a range of data points.

With all the attention on the SATs and test-taking over the last decade, what’s with the spike in the number of New Jersey high school seniors taking Italian?

Those are just some of the data points worth weighing in the College Board’s annual report on America’s college-bound high school seniors. Aside from test results and foreign language enrollment, the report touches on everything from grade-point averages to the top intended college majors. And now that we’re at the end of the first decade of the 21st century, it seems like a good time to see what’s changed since the turn of the millennium.

Granted, direct comparisons can be tricky. But some trends are apparent -- not only the increased popularity of Italian as a foreign language (which tracks generally, if not scientifically, with the popularity of certain Jersey-centric television programs), but also the rising number of applicants to a certain Philadelphia college and a noticeable shift in intended college majors.

Number taking SAT

  • 2010: 84,874
  • 2000: 66,983

Average verbal scores

  • 2010: 495 (501 nationally)
  • 2000: 498 (505 nationally)

Average math scores

  • 2010: 514 (516)
  • 2000: 513 (514)

Mean grade point average

  • 2010: 3.29 (3.36 female, 3.21 male)
  • 2000: 3.14 (3.20 female, 3.06 male)

Average years taking arts/music

  • 2010: 2.3 years
  • 2000: 1.8 years

Percentage of students listing American literature as coursework in English

  • 2010: 65
  • 2000: 87

Percentage of students with calculus as highest level in math

  • 2010: 26
  • 2000: 21

Percentage of students taking physics

  • 2010: 54
  • 2000: 46

Top three languages taken (by percent)

  • 2010: Spanish (69), French (17), Italian (9)
  • 2000: Spanish (69), French (20), Latin (9)

Top intended college majors (by percent)

  • 2010: health (15), business (13), education (9)
  • 2000: business (16) health (12), education (11)

Top five colleges applied to (by percent)

  • 2010: Rutgers (43), Montclair State (18), College of NJ (14), Rowan (14), Penn State (12)
  • 2000: Rutgers (48), College of NJ (17), Montclair State (17), Rowan (14), New York University (12)

Change in graduating students’ applications to Drexel University

  • 2010: 10 percent applying (7th highest)
  • 2000: 4 percent (25th)
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