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Does Where You Live Matter?

Well, of course it does.

I remember my first professional conference in 1985: AACRAO in Cincinnati. Fred Hargadon, who was then the former dean of admissions at Stanford (before he became the dean at Princeton) was filling in for someone else at the last minute.  I was impressed by how eloquent he was on a moment's notice, but mostly I remember a few things he said, most notably (from memory):

"In all my years of doing this work, I've learned only two things: First, that if you had to choose the worst time for someone to pick a college, it would be age 17, and second, the block on which you are born has more to do with where you end up in life than any other single factor."

It appears he was right, expect this shows states, and where the students who were scheduled to graduate in the class of 2008 ended up.  You can choose what you want to look at and the map will update the color of the state to show that value. Don't try to add up the numbers to 100, as they're not discrete. The values show:


  • Percentage of HS grads going to college.  This uses HS grads as the denominator
  • HS Grads but not going to college + not completing HS + percent of all going to college = 100% and use as a denominator those who were eligible to graduate in 2008.  In other words, you either enrolled, did not enroll, or dropped out
  • Percent with BA shows the percentage of those who went to college who earned a degree in four years


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