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North Carolina State University
2012 Incoming Freshmen Survey:

NC State conducted its annual survey of entering first-year students during the summer of 2012. After attending New Student Orientation students were e-mailed an invitation to complete the survey online. At the start of the Fall semester students who had not attended orientation were also invited to participate. The survey response rate was 53.1 percent (N=2,322 of 4,374).

NC State's academic reputation is very influential in the decision to attend NC State. Although more than two-thirds of respondents applied to three or more colleges including NC State, a majority of incoming students said that NC State was their first or only choice among colleges to attend. Academic reputation was most frequently reported as the single most influential factor in the decision to attend NC State, followed by level of support for intended major, and availability of program.

Students feel well prepared for college by their high school and by their own efforts. The vast majority of incoming students said they were at least "somewhat well" prepared for college both by their high school and by their own efforts.

Students are nervous but excited! In response to a question asking them to comment in their own words on what they are most concerned or nervous about in starting their first semester at NC State, about one-third of students mentioned issues related to their academic performance or managing the workload, and another 20 percent commented on the transition to college. When asked about what they were most excited about, the most common responses related to social activities, personal or career development, campus life/involvement, and their new-found independence.

High achievement is important to incoming students. 60 percent of incoming students say their primary goal or objective for attending NC State is to "obtain a bachelor's degree as preparation for graduate or professional school." Three-fourths of respondents have plans for post-baccalaureate studies leading to a Master's degree or higher.

Students are helping to pay their college expenses. 70 percent of incoming students say they will be putting their own resources (e.g., savings from work, work-study, other income) toward the cost of their NC State education, although most will be contributing less than $1,000 their first year. 45 percent of incoming students intend to work either on- or off-campus during the school year. Additionally, about 50 percent of students say they will be taking out loans to cover their first year expenses.

Incoming students report room to grow on various knowledge, skills, and personal development goals. Respondents consistently gave higher ratings to the importance of each of 35 different knowledge, skills, and personal development goals that the University has for them than to their current level of development of the goal. Most notably, ability to handle stress and time management ranked high in importance, but low in development. Goals ranking high in both current development and importance include potential for success, taking responsibility for my own behavior, and ability to work with people from diverse backgrounds. Several goals central to the University's core general education curriculum received low importance and development ratings, including applying scientific methods of inquiry, writing effectively, and capacity to engage with/respond to creative works and evaluate significance.

Co-curricular activities geared towards academics and athletics are of most interest to incoming students. Among 31 co-curricular activities and programs, first year students expressed greatest interest in study abroad/national student exchange, fitness/wellness, organizations/clubs related to your major, intramural sports, and volunteer services.

Location is not a determining factor in future employment plans of incoming students. Among those planning to seek employment after graduation, respondents were much more likely to report that they will seek employment "anywhere" or "anywhere in the United States" than to report that they will seek work "in North Carolina only."

NC State freshmen are well-connected, technologically. 97 percent of incoming students plan to bring a laptop computer to campus. 99 percent of students said they will be bringing either a cellphone or smartphone to campus.

For more information on the 2012 Incoming Freshmen Survey contact:
Dr. Nancy Whelchel, Associate Director for Survey Research
Office of Institutional Planning and Research
Box 7002
Phone: (919) 515-4184

Posted: October 2012

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