The study examines the associations between socioeconomic status (SES) and noncognitive development in first year college students, distinguishing between objective (or absolute) and subjective (or relative) measures of SES. The analyses draw from longitudinal data capturing college students (N = 2,488) at the start of the first year of college and again towards the end of the same academic year, across 25 public four-year colleges and universities within a single state higher education system. Results highlight the importance of subjective status, over and above objective status, and suggest strategies that may inform college and university support.