North Carolina State University:
(Report No. 1)
2000 First-Year Student Survey
NC State conducted its annual survey of entering first-year students during New Student Orientation sessions held in June and August 1999.
The survey response rate was 88.9% (N=3,412).
There were no significant gender or racial/ethnic differences between the first-year students actually enrolled at NC State and those responding to the survey. Survey respondents had slightly higher SAT total scores, admissions index scores, and high school grade point averages.
Over half of all survey respondents (56.2%) expected to receive some form of financial aid. Nearly equal proportions of respondents expected aid based on academic ability (28.2%) and financial need (28.9%). Substantially more African American students expected to receive financial aid (82.6%) than whites (52.8%) or other minorities (59.2%). More than twice as many African Americans than whites expected aid based on financial need (55.7% vs 25.0%) . African Americans were also more likely than whites to expect aid based on academic ability (41.8% vs 26.9%).
Almost 30 percent of white respondents reported family incomes over $100,000 per year, compared to 9.6 percent of African Americans and 22.6 percent of other minorities. African American respondents were almost five times more likely than whites to report family incomes of $25,000 or less (24.9% vs 5.2%).
The most common parent/guardian educational attainment reported by all respondents was a four-year baccalaureate degree. A majority of fathers/male guardians (63.6%) and mothers/female guardians (56.8%) had a baccalaureate or higher (M.S., Ph.D.) degree. African American and other minority respondents were more likely than whites to report that neither parent had attended college (14.9%, 16.1%, and 6.8%).
A majority of first-year students (64.8%) reported having four or more people currently supported by parents/guardians. Over two-thirds (68.5%) reported that they were the only dependent currently enrolled in college. White respondents were more likely than African Americans to report having four or more dependents in their family (66.1% vs 51.7%), and to have more than one dependent in their family currently in college (31.2% vs 27.7%).
"Baptist" was the most common religious preference reported by respondents (25.4%), followed by Methodist (15.2%) and Catholic (12.7%).
Applying to College
Half of respondents (50.7%) applied to three or more colleges including NC State. Men and white respondents were more likely than women and African Americans, respectively, to have applied only to NC State (men: 28.4% vs. women: 20.3%; and whites: 26.8% vs. African Americans: 11.5%).
About two-thirds of survey respondents reported that after applying for admission to NC State they received a letter from someone at NC State other than the Admissions Office (65.2%). Considerably fewer respondents reported receiving calls from NCSU faculty/staff (17.2%), current NCSU students (17.0%), and NCSU graduates (7.2%). African American and other minority respondents were more likely than whites to have received a call from NCSU faculty/staff during the admissions process. African Americans were also more than twice as likely as whites to have received a call from NCSU faculty/staff or a current NC State student.
The factors rated most influential in the decision to attend NC State were academic reputation (23.5%), level of support for my intended major (18.5%), availability of program (12.3%), and location (11.3%). With few exceptions, women and African Americans rated each of the factors asked about as more influential than did men and whites, respectively.
The vast majority of respondents were "moderately" or "very satisfied" with university (93.7%) and departmental (94.5%) admissions processes. Fewer respondents (66.3%) reported being "moderately" or "very satisfied" with the university financial aid process.
About 70 percent (71.2%) of respondents at orientation sessions indicated that they were "certain" or "very certain" of their choice in college major. African American were more likely than whites and other minority respondents to have said they were "very certain" of their choice of major (36.1%, 27.8%, and 28.0%).
The majority of respondents (73.6%) indicated 4 years as the amount of time intended to complete a degree at NC State. African American respondents were more likely than whites to think it would take them more than 4 years to get their degree (27.2% vs 20.7%).
Almost two-thirds (63.7%) of women compared to 49.5 percent of men said they intended to obtain a baccalaureate degree as preparation for graduate or professional school. Men, on the other hand, were more likely than women to say their primary goal was to earn a bachelor's degree in preparation for a career (36.3% vs 27.9%).
Women and African Americans were much more likely than men and whites, respectively, to report planning on going beyond a Master's degree. Women were almost 6 times more likely than men to plan on getting a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (10.1% vs 1.7%), and twice as likely to plan on getting a medical degree (9.2% vs 4.2%). African American respondents were almost twice as likely as whites to plan on getting a Doctoral degree (23.8% vs 12.0%) or a law degree (7.5% vs 3.9%).
Almost 90 percent (88.7%) of respondents intended to take a course load of 15 credit hours or more during their first semester. Among those taking less than 15 credit hours, the most common reasons reported were "want to make better grades" and "courses wanted unavailable." African American respondents were three times more likely than whites to give "the need to work" as a reason for taking less than 15 credits (36.7% vs 11.3%).
Two-thirds of respondents (66.1%) did not intend to work during their first semester at NC State. Of those working, most (82.0%) intended to work less than 20 hours per week.
Overall, respondents indicated greatest interest in intramurals (52.7%), fitness (45.1%), and outdoor adventures (39.5%) from a list of 27 co-curricular activities and programs. However, there were notable gender and racial/ethnic differences in interest in the various activities. With few exceptions (e.g., intramurals, club sports, informal recreation, ROTC), more women than men expressed interest in each of the activities asked listed. Gender differences were especially large for volunteer services, fitness, student dance company, planning programs/services, and gender issues. African Americans were much more likely than whites to report being interesting in leadership activities, such as student government, the student leadership program, residence hall council, and the Union Activities Board. White respondents were more likely than African Americans to express interest in outdoor and athletic activities, such as outdoor adventures, intramurals, club sports, and informal recreation.
Student Goals for Undergraduate Education
Respondents consistently rated the importance of goals higher than their current level of development of those goals. As a whole, survey respondents look for improvement in all goals.
Seven of the ten highest mean ratings of current level of development were in the area of personal development goals. However, the second and third highest mean ratings of current development were for world view goals.
Personal development goals also received higher mean ratings for importance than did general education and world view goals (9 of the 10 highest ratings).
- Scatterplots depicting the importance and current level of development of each goal reveal that taking responsibility for my own behavior ranks high in both importance and current level of development. Goals ranking high in importance but lower in development include managing my time. Goals central to the University's core general education curriculum received the lowest ratings for both perceived importance and the student's current development (understanding the present as it relates to history, developing an appreciation of the arts, understanding diverse cultures, and developing the ability to apply scientific principles).
- Goals ranking low in both importance and development include understanding the present as it relates to history.
- The patterns of individual goal rankings remained fairly stable by gender and race/ethnicity. However, African American respondents consistently assigned higher ratings to both goal development and importance than did white respondents.
For more information on the 2000 First-Year Student Survey contact:
Dr. Nancy Whelchel, Associate Director for Survey Research
Office of Institutional Planning and Research
Phone: (919) 515-4184
Posted: March, 2001
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