100 College Students… Represented Visually… And They’re Not What You Might Expect

Turn on the TV or watch a movie and you may think that a majority of college students are 18-24 years old, attend a four-year institution full-time, live in an on campus residence hall, and attend class in a physical classroom.  Those of us that work in higher education, however, know that although this is the dominant narrative represented in the media, it is very far from the reality (even though we may need to be reminded of this fact on occasion).  I came across the following infographic from the Bill and Melinda Gate Foundation that does an excellent job of visualizing the diversity of today’s college students.  Visualized as percentages out of 100, you’ll notice that there is no “typical” college student… if there ever was one.

From what I researched, this graphic is about a year and a half old… so know that the statistics may have shifted.  (I’m guessing the online and blended education statistics, in particular, have probably grown.  The others are likely relatively stable.)  Also note that its based on data from other sources, so demographic information is limited to the way it was collected. (e.g. gender is represented as a binary instead of fluid, etc.)

What statistic surprises you the most?
How do some of these demographic variables correlate with one another?
What disservice are we doing to all college students by rendering many of them “invisible?”

America As 100 College Students

By Eleanor Lutz and Linda Kennedy for the Gates Foundation (original with sources).

I also found this companion infographic on the web.  It’s clearly from the same source, but I could not find a version of it on the Gates Foundation website.  i assume the sources are the same as those for the infographic above.

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By Eleanor Lutz and Linda Kennedy for the Gates Foundation (original with sources).