North Carolina State University:
(Report No. 1)
1999 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 83.8% (N=3,072).
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 (58.5%) expected to receive some form of financial aid. Nearly equal proportions of respondents expected aid based on academic ability (30.8%) and financial need (30.7%). Substantially more African American students expected to receive financial aid (82.8%) than whites (56.0%) or other minorities (60.0%). Of the African Americans expecting aid, 55.4 percent expected aid based on financial need.
Just under half (47.9%) of white respondents reported family incomes over $75,000 per year, compared to 20.8 percent of African Americans and 27.6 percent of other minorities.
The most common parent/guardian educational attainment reported by all respondents was a four-year baccalaureate degree. Over half of fathers/male guardians (61.4%) and mothers/female guardians (54.1%) 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 (18.7%, 14.7%, and 6.3%).
A majority of first-year students (62.5%) 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.
Differences in religious preference were observed by race/ethnicity. Whereas about one-quarter (25.2%) of white respondents reported being Baptist, about one-half of African Americans (48.6%) selected this denomination. In contrast, other minorities were more likely to report no preference (28.7%) than were African Americans (12.0%) or whites (14.8%).
Applying to College
Just under half of respondents (47.4%) 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: 34.0% vs. women: 21.2%; and whites: 30.1% vs. African Americans: 18.5%).
Nearly three-fourths 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. Considerably fewer respondents reported receiving calls from NCSU faculty/staff, current NCSU students, and NCSU graduates. African American and other minority respondents were more likely than whites to have received a call from a faculty member, and African American respondents were more likely than other groups to have received a call from a current NC State student during the admissions process.
The factors rated most influential in the decision to attend NC State were academic reputation (22.5%), level of support for my intended major (17.0%), and availability of program (14.6%). 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 (92.3%) and departmental (92.6%) admissions processes. Fewer respondents (68.3%) reported being "moderately" or "very satisfied" with the university financial aid process.
Over two-thirds of respondents at orientation sessions (69.9%) indicated that they were "certain" or "very certain" of their choice in college major. African American and other minority respondents were more likely than whites to have said they were "very certain" of their choice of major (33.3%, 33.5%, and 24.8%).
The majority of respondents (71.3%) indicated 4 years as the amount of time intended to complete a degree at NC State.
Two-thirds (66.5%) of women compared to 47.5 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 (35.9% vs. 25.8%).
Over 40 percent (41.0%) of African Americans planned on going beyond a master�s degree, compared to 27 percent of whites. Women were also more likely than men to say they intended to go beyond a master�s degree (38.2% vs. 21.9%).
Almost 90 percent (88.5%) 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."
Over two-thirds of respondents (68.1%) did not intend to work during their first semester at NC State. Of those working, most (83.7%) intended to work less than 20 hours per week.
Respondents indicated greatest interest in intramurals (52.3%), fitness (43.9%), outdoor adventures (41.0%) and the co-op program (34.0%) from a list of 27 co-curricular activities and programs.
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.
Six 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 (8 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 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, female and minority respondents tended to assign higher ratings to both goal development and importance than did male and white respondents.
For more information on the 1999 First-Year Student Survey contact:
Dr. Nancy Whelchel, Associate Director for Survey Research
Office of Institutional Planning and Research
Phone: (919) 515-4184
Posted: April, 2000
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