From the Chronicle of Higher Education

One of the major educational reporting outlets is the Chronicle of Higher Education.  Yesterday I happened to see a teaser for an article about “A Profile of Freshmen” on Facebook (of all places) and thought it would be interesting to check it out and see what it was.  I was thinking that it might be the Beloit Mindset List, which tells you things that this year’s entering freshmen class either always knew or never knew, things that had always existed for their class (but had been new inventions for us older folks), etc.

The Chronicle article wasn’t that exactly – instead it was a portrait of last year’s freshman class at colleges and universities nationwide.  They billed it as follows: “More than two-thirds of college students expressed confidence in their overall academic ability, though less than half considered themselves above average in mathematical or writing skills. They planned to rely most heavily on their parents and scholarships and other aid to pay for their education, and more than 85 percent expected to graduate within four years.”  And they proceeded to slice and dice last year’s national freshmen.

If you are a stats wonk, this might be fun to look at when you have time.  And even if you are not, it might be worth trying to picture where your student might fall on the continuum of all the answers.  The Chronicle article is available online.

And for those of you who want a big laugh – or perhaps a cringe – check out the Beloit Mindset List.  They have not released the vitoClass of 2017 yet, but you can still see the Class of 2016‘s list.  For me, this one is painful to read: “#7.  Robert De Niro is thought of as Greg Focker’s long-suffering father-in-law, not as Vito Corleone or Jimmy Conway.”


Edited to add

The article I viewed was fully accessible via the Facebook link I saw yesterday.  However, a Daily Deac reader emailed me to say the content was only for subscribers to the Chronicle.  I went back and found the data (without a subscription) via the web and am including it below.  Apologies for any confusion.

A Profile of Freshmen at 4-Year Colleges, Fall 2012

More than two-thirds of college students expressed confidence in their overall academic ability, though less than half considered themselves above average in mathematical or writing skills. They planned to rely most heavily on their parents and scholarships and other aid to pay for their education, and more than 85 percent expected to graduate within four years.

Race and ethnicity (more than one identification allowed)
American Indian/Alaska Native 2.6%
Asian-American/Asian 10.7%
Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander 1.2%
African-American/black 11.5%
Mexican-American/Chicano 7.7%
Puerto Rican 1.6%
Other Latino 5.2%
White/Caucasian 69.7%
Other 3.5%
Parents’ educational level (college degree or higher)
Father 53.0%
Mother 56.2%
First generation in college
Yes 19.5%
No 80.5%
Best estimate of parents’ income
Less than $25,000 14.6%
$25,000 to $49,999 16.7%
$50,000 to 74,999 18.2%
$75,000 to $99,999 13.0%
$100,000 to $149,999 17.1%
$150,000 to $199,999 8.1%
$200,000 or more 12.4%
Political views
Far left 2.8%
Liberal 26.8%
Middle of the road 47.5%
Conservative 21.1%
Far right 1.8%
High school attended
Public school (not charter or magnet) 76.8%
Public charter school 2.8%
Public magnet school 3.3%
Private religious/parochial school 10.7%
Private independent college-prep school 5.8%
Home school 0.7%
Subjects studied in high school
English (4 years) 97.9%
Mathematics (3 years) 98.9%
Foreign language (2 years) 92.8%
Physical science (2 years) 61.4%
Biological science (2 years) 50.6%
History/American government (1 year) 98.9%
Computer science (1/2 year) 54.4%
Arts and/or music (1 year) 83.0%
Time spent on selected activities during a typical week during last year of high school
Less than one hour 12.8%
1 to 5 hours 48.8%
6 to 20 hours 34.3%
Over 20 hours 4.1%
Working (for pay)
Less than one hour 45.7%
1 to 5 hours 13.3%
6 to 20 hours 30.6%
Over 20 hours 10.3%
Household/child-care duties
Less than one hour 39.6%
1 to 5 hours 48.9%
6 to 20 hours 9.9%
Over 20 hours 1.5%
Reading for pleasure
Less than one hour 52.9%
1 to 5 hours 36.6%
6 to 20 hours 9.4%
Over 20 hours 1.1%
Selected activities done ‘frequently’ or ‘occasionally’ in past year
Tutored another student 59.3%
Drank beer 33.4%
Drank wine or liquor 39.2%
Came late to class 53.8%
Skipped school/class 27.3%
Fell asleep in class 46.5%
Failed to complete homework on time 52.0%
Qualities in which student evaluates self as ‘highest 10 percent’ or ‘above average’
Academic ability 69.0%
Creativity 53.4%
Emotional health 51.5%
Leadership ability 61.1%
Mathematical ability 44.8%
Writing ability 46.3%
Ability to see the world from someone else’s perspective 67.2%
Tolerance of others with different beliefs 73.0%
Openness to having my own views challenged 54.0%
Ability to discuss and negotiate controversial issues 63.2%
Ability to work cooperatively with diverse people 79.6%
Number of colleges applied to, in addition to the one where enrolled
None 13.1%
1 to 5 59.5%
6 to 10 22.7%
11 or more 4.8%
Accepted by first-choice college
Yes 76.7%
No 23.3%
Preference status of college where enrolled
1st choice 59.3%
2nd choice 25.9%
3rd choice 9.3%
Less than 3rd choice 5.5%
Number of miles from college to permanent home
5 or less 5.4%
6 to 10 7.0%
11 to 50 26.3%
51 to 100 15.2%
101 to 500 31.6%
Over 500 14.5%
Opinion on whether the current economic situation significantly affected college choice
Agree strongly 24.0%
Agree somewhat 42.6%
Disagree somewhat 19.7%
Disagree strongly 13.7%
Reasons deemed ‘very important’ in deciding to go to college
To be able to get a better job 87.9%
To gain a general education and appreciation of ideas 72.8%
To make me a more cultured person 50.6%
To be able to make more money 74.6%
To learn more about things that interest me 82.5%
To get training for a specific career 79.3%
To prepare myself for graduate or professional school 61.9%
Planned living arrangements for fall term
With my family or other relatives 17.2%
Other private home, apartment, or room 2.8%
College residence hall 76.1%
Fraternity or sorority house 0.7%
Other campus student housing 2.8%
Other 0.3%
Self-defined professional-school aspirations
Pre-med 19.3%
Pre-law 6.3%
Probable major
Arts and humanities 12.2%
Biological science 12.9%
Business 14.4%
Education 5.8%
Engineering 10.3%
Health professions 14.0%
Math and computer science 3.1%
Physical science 2.5%
Social science 11.1%
Other majors 5.6%
Undecided 8.1%
Expected sources for first year’s educational expenses (room, board, tuition, and fees)
Family resources (parents, relatives, spouse, etc.)
Less than $1,000 32.8%
$1,000 to $9,999 35.1%
$10,000 or more 32.1%
My own resources (savings from work, work-study, other income)
Less than $1,000 64.3%
$1,000 to $9,999 33.0%
$10,000 or more 2.6%
Aid that need not be repaid (grants, scholarships, military funds, etc.)
Less than $1,000 34.1%
$1,000 to $9,999 36.5%
$10,000 or more 29.4%
Aid that must be repaid (loans, etc.)
Less than $1,000 51.7%
$1,000 to $9,999 35.2%
$10,000 or more 13.1%
Number of years student expects to take to finish degree at current college
3 or fewer 2.6%
4 84.3%
5 8.6%
6 or more 2.7%
Not planning to graduate from current college 1.8%
Highest academic degree planned
None 0.6%
Vocational certificate 0.1%
Associate (A.A. or equivalent) 0.4%
Bachelor’s degree (B.A., B.S., etc.) 21.7%
Master’s degree (M.A., M.S., etc.) 41.8%
Ph.D. or Ed.D. 19.4%
M.D., D.O., D.D.S., D.V.M. (medical) 10.4%
J.D. (law) 4.0%
B.D. or M.Div. (divinity) 0.3%
Other 1.3%

Note: Survey results were obtained from nearly 200,000 first-time full-time students entering 283 four-year colleges in 2012, and were statistically weighted to represent the entire group of entering freshmen. Percentages may not add up to 100 because of rounding.

Source: Higher Education Research Institute, U. of California at Los Angeles

Categories: campus life


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