Earlham's First Year Students - Fall 2004

Prepared May, 2005, by Mary Ann Weaver and Nichole Dudley, Student Research Assistant

Click below for links to tables within this report

Each year the CIRP survey, sponsored by the Higher Education Research Institute and the Cooperative Institutional Research Program, is given to entering college students. In the fall of 2004, this survey was completed by 289,452 students from 440 institutions across the nation. This number included 275 of Earlham’s 336 first-year students (82%). It is interesting to compare Earlham students with the national sample concerning their personal history, family characteristics, educational goals, values, attitudes on social issues, behavioral patterns, and a variety of other issues.

As a member of the Higher Education Data Sharing Consortium, we also have the opportunity to compare Earlham’s responses with some of our peer schools. See Appendix for a list of the institutions represented in our peer group.

Women comprise 63.3% of Earlham’s first-year student sample. The proportion of African-American students among the respondents is 8.1%. The proportion at the national level this year for all institutions is 9.7% and 5.0% for our peer group. Although 83.5% identified themselves as White/Caucasian, 16.1% were from minority categories and 7% indicated "other". This reflects students indicating more than one racial category.

In religious preference, 14.8% of Earlham first-years are Quaker (versus .2% nationally), 6.8% are Jewish, 5.5% Catholic, 5.2% Unitarian Universalist and 3.9% Buddhist. There were 6.8% who responded that they are “other Christian” and 4.2% who said “other religion.” Many more Earlham students (36.5%) reported having no religious preference compared to the national sample where 17.5% had no religious preference..

Very few of the respondents from this first-year Earlham class (3.5%) live within five miles of campus; 16.1% report living 6 to 100 miles away. Another 32.6% live within 101 and 500 miles of the college, and 46.5% are more than 500 miles away from home. These figures confirm that Earlham continues to be a “national” institution. Nationwide, a mere 12.6% of students attend an institution more than 500 miles from their home. In compliance with Earlham’s housing policy, over 95% of the Earlham first-year students plan on living in college housing. This compares to 80.1% of students nationally.

Parental income below $25,000 was reported by 13.2% of these new students at Earlham; income of $50,000 or more by 60.3%. Over half (54.8%) of this entering cohort expect family resources to cover over $10,000 of their first year’s educational expenses. This compares to 29.5% nationally and 67.3% for our peer group. Another 37.7% of the Earlham respondents expected $10,000 or more from financial aid which need not be repaid (grants, scholarships, etc.). This is lower than the 47.6% of the respondents from our peer group who expected financial aid to cover over $10,000 of their first-year expenses, but signigficantly higher than the 15.9% of students nationwide who were expecting that much financial aid. Over half of the Earlham first-year students (52.9%) have some concern about their ability to finance their college education, but feel they probably will have enough funds (49.4% for our peer group and 52.5% nationally). About 14% of Earlham’s first-year students have a major concern about finances and are not sure they will have enough funds to complete college. This compares to 8.6% of students from our peer group and 13% nationally.

Many of the Earlham students (25.5%) have parents who are divorced or separated compared to 24.3% nationally and 19.2% from our peer group institutions.

Earlham students tend to come from well-educated families. Almost half (49.7%) of the fathers of entering students hold graduate degrees (compared to 23% nationally and 51.6% of peer group). Eleven percent of the fathers have had a formal education of high school or less (the figure is 27.9% for the national group and 9.9% for the peer group). Continuing the trend, there continues to be a sizeable number of students' fathers with careers in education, with a majority of those in the profession of college teacher. The percentages are slightly less than in 2003, but the trend remains. A total of 12.5% are educators compared with 15.1% in 2003. Of those, 5.5% are college teachers, 3% are elementary teachers, and 4% are secondary school educators. In 2003, 8.1% were college teachers. For the mothers of entering students, 47% hold graduate degrees (17.4% nationally and 40.8% of peer group) and 11% hold a formal education of high school or less (27.6% nationally and 9.4% of peer group). Mothers’ careers are varied -- 19.7% work in the field of education, 24.4% are employed in the helping professions (such as clergy, health care workers, social workers, and lawyers) including 7.4% in nursing professions. Only 7.1% are full-time homemakers compared to 10.1% nationwide.

A closer look at the education of the parents of students entering Earlham in 2004 reveals that 68% of these students come from families where both parents have at least a bachelor's degree and 37.4% are from families where both parents have graduate degrees. Almost 15% (14.8%) of these students are first generation students - neither of their parents have college degrees.

An M.A. degree is the eventual educational goal of 34.8% of these first-year Earlhamites; 29.7% plan to seek an Ed.D. or Ph.D. (versus 17.4% nationally); an additional 3.5% of these entering students expect to earn a doctorate in a medical field. This is lower than both our peer group and the national norm. According to HEDS, 12.2% of students at our peer institutions plan to get a medical degree and 9.3% nationally.

Earlham is the first college choice for 74.8% of entering students. This compares to 69.2% of students in our peer group and 69.5% nationwide. 15.8% of Earlham’s entering students did not apply at any other college; 48.4% applied at four or more other colleges. Responses from our peer group show similar figures with 63.6% applying to four or more other colleges and 14.7% applying only to the school they are attending.

How did students spend their time in the last year? We see that the biggest block of time was spent socializing with friends. About three-quarters (73.9%) of Earlham’s entering students spent six or more hours per week socializing; 27.1% spent sixteen or more hours per week. This has decreased slightly since last year when 30.4% of the students entering in 2003 reported spending sixteen or more hours per week socializing. Thankfully, only 1% of students reported spending no time socializing. More than half of the respondents (54.9) spent six or more hours a week studying or doing homework, and 14.2% of these students spent more than sixteen hours a week studying. These figures are much higher than the national percentages yet almost identical to our peer group. Only 34.3% of students nationally reported spending more than six hours studying, and a mere 6.9% spent over sixteen hours a week on homework. Many of the Earlham students held a job during the last year. 15.8% of the soon-to-be Earlham students spent sixteen or more hours working for pay each week while 36.2% spent six or more hours doing the same. Students also spent time in extracurricular activities. 77.4% of the Earlham students spent one or more hours in student organizations which is slightly less than our peer group students and slightly more than the national norm (82.4% and 71.6% respectively). It is interesting to note however, that for all groups, the percentages are up from the incoming 2003 class where 65.5% of Earlham students, 68% of our peer group, and 57% nationally reported spending one or more hours per week involved with student organizations.

Table 1

Political Views

Political Views

Earlham

% Peer Group

% All Institutions

% Male

% Female

% Total

Far left

25.2
17.3
20.3
9.3
3.4

Liberal

51.3
58.6
55.8
49.9
26.1

Middle of the road

17.6
19.4
18.7
26.8
46.4

Conservative

3.4

1.6
2.3
12.7
21.9

Far right

1.7
0.5
1.0
1.3
2.2

As usual, Earlham students tend to be much more liberal than their national counterparts. Earlham women tended to report being "middle of the road" more frequently than men, and they also reported being "liberal" more than Earlham men but neither was by an extremely large margin. The number of students reporting "far left" or "liberal" political views is very high, while the percentage of "middle of the road" responses is less than half the national figure but slightly closer to our peer group. Not surprisingly, few new Earlham students report being "conservative" or "far right".


Table 2

Probable Career Occupation

Occupation

Earlham

Peer Group %

All Institutions %

Male %

Female %

Total %

Accountant or actuary

1.7
0
.6
0
2.2

Actor or entertainer

1.7
2
1.3
0
1.4

Architect or urban planner

.8
0
.3
.5
1.3

Artist

3.4
3.1
3.2
1.2
1.9

Business executive (management)

1.7
1.0
1.3
5.0
7.5

Business owner or proprietor

1.7
0
.6
1.9
3.3

Business sales representative or buyer

.8
0
.3
.3
.9

Clergy (minister, priest)

.8
.5
.6
.2
.3

Clinical psychologist

2.5
2.6
2.6
1.7
1.5

College teacher

4.2
2.6
3.2
2.3
.6

Computer programmer or analyst

1.7
1.0
1.3
.8
2.2

Conservationist or forester

.8
.5
.6
.4
.2

Dentist (including orthodontist)

1.7
0
0
.7
1.1

Engineer

.8
0
.6
1.6
7.5

Farmer or rancher

4.2
0
.3
.2
.2

Foreign service worker

1.7
6.3
5.5
3.3
.7

Homemaker (full-time)

0
0
0
.2
.1

Lawyer (attorney) or judge

.8
2.1
1.9
7.8
4.1

Musician (performer, composer)

1.7
.5
.6
2.2
1.4

Nurse

0
.5
.3
.3
3.9
Pharmacist
0
1.6
1.0
.6
2.4

Physician

2.5
3.1
4.2
9.1
6.2

Policymaker/Government

3.4
1.6
1.9
3.1
1.0

School counselor

0
1.0
.6
.2
.3

Scientific researcher

.8
6.8
5.5
4.8
1.9

Social, welfare, recreation worker

1.7
1.6
1.3
.9
.9

Teacher (elementary)

6.7

2.1

1.9
1.4
5.1

Teacher (secondary)

3.4
7.3
7.1
3.3
4.6

Therapist (physical, occupational, speech)

0
1.6
1.0
.9
3.0

Veterinarian

0
1.0
.6
1.1
1.2

Writer or journalist

1.6
5.2
4.5
5.7
2.6

Skilled trades

0
.5
.3
.2
.3

Other career

8.4
6.8
7.4
4.7
8.0

Undecided

30.3
32.5
31.6
29.1
14.1

The Earlham respondents are more likely to consider being educators than those in the peer group and national samples. They are more than twice as likely to want to be foreign service workers than those in the national sample. Much like our peer group, Earlham students are more interested in careers as writers, clinical psychologists, or scientific researchers. Earlham students are twice as likely than our peer group to want to go into a fine arts profession. Business and engineering professions are popular career goals for the national sample but are not as common among the Earlham sample. Earlham students are twice as likely as their national counterparts to be undecided about a career. Gender differences in some careers are not as prominent as in years past. More equal number of men and women are interested in becoming business executives, and social welfare workers. In fact Earlham men are twice as likely to want to be an elementary school teacher than Earlham women. There remains a higher percentage of men desiring careers in government, business, computer programing, or farming as compared to women. More women than men are interested in pursuing careers as physicians, veterinarians, lawyers, or some type of therapist (physical, occupational, or speech). Earlham women are much more likely than Earlham men to desire a career as a foreign service worker, scientific researcher, or journalist.

Table 3

Reasons Noted as Very Important in Deciding to Attend College

Reasons

Earlham

Peer Group %

All Institutions %

Male %

Female %

Total %

To learn more about things that interest me

87.4
92.1
90.3
89.3
76.8

To gain general education

83.2
89
86.8
82.8
64.6

To become a more cultured person

56.3
74.9
67.7
62.7
40.5

To prepare myself for graduate or professional school

39.5
56
49.7
65.9
56.7

To find my purpose in life

38.7
55.5
49.0
48.1
51.8

To get a better job

40.3
47.6
44.8
58.6
71.8
To get training for a specific career
36.1
34.6
35.2
39.6
74.6

To make more money

34.5
31.4
32.6
48.8
70.1

Parents wanted me to go

22.7
33
29
32.6
41.8

Wanted to get away from home

23.5
26.2
25.2
21.8
21.5
There was nothing better to do
3.4
4.7
4.2
3.8
4.0

Could not find a job

2.5
1.0
1.6
2.2
6.0

There could be many reasons why a high school graduate decides to attend college. Earlham first-years students consider learning more about what interests them and gaining general education to be very important reasons in deciding to attend college. Almost half (49.7%) are interested in preparing themselves for graduate or professional school. Earlham students are much less interested in the benefit of making more money, getting a better job or getting training for a specific career than both our peer group and the national sample. We are grateful that there are only 4.2% of first-year students at Earlham who came because there was nothing better to do, and only 1.6% came because they could not find a job.

Table 4

Reasons Noted as Being Very Important in Choosing Their College

Reasons

Earlham

Peer Group %

All Institutions %

Male %

Female %

Total %

Wanted to go to a school the size of this college

59.7
66.5
63.9
57.3
35.8
A visit to campus
53.8
63.9
60
61.5
39

College has a very good academic reputation

52.1
59.2
56.5
76
56.7

Offered financial assistance

39.5
42.9
41.6
42
33.7

Good social reputation

39.5

37.2

38.1
34.6
28.3

Graduates get good jobs

27.7
29.3
28.7
47.5
49.1
Grads gain admission to top graduate schools
20.2
28.3
25.2
43.5
28.9

College has low tuition

21
23
22.3
18.4
31

Religious affiliation/orientation of college

19.3
19.9
19.7
3.5
6.7

Information from a Web site

6.7
13.1
10.6
16.3
13.5

High School counselor advised me

10.1
9.4
9.7
9.7
7.4

Admitted through early action/decision

2.5
13.6
9.4
25.3
8.6

Rankings in national magazines

7.6
9.9
9.0
23.5
14.7

Relatives wanted me to come

9.2
7.9
8.4
5.5
9.4

Wanted to live near home

4.2
6.3
5.5
6.1
17

Teacher advised me

5
5.8
5.5
6.3
4.8

Private college counselor advised me

6.7
3.7
4.8
4.5
2.4

Not offered aid by first choice

2.5
3.7
3.2
5.2
6.1

The most popular reason students gave as a very important deciding factor in choosing Earlham was that they wanted to go to a school about this size. The small size of Earlham was very important to 63.9% of the incoming students in choosing to come here. This aspect was more important for the females than the males. Only 35.8% of the national sample felt the size of the college was very important in choosing a college. Respondents also indicated that a visit to campus, along with the college's good reputation, both academic and social, and being offered financial aid were influential factors in the decision-making process. About 56% of the Earlham students noted Earlham's good academic reputation as a very important reason for choosing Earlham, whereas a higher percentage (76%) of the peer group sample of students considered academic reputation an important reason for choosing their college. The campus' social reputation was noted as being very important to 38% of Earlham's incoming class, compared with 34.6% of our peer group sample and 28.3% of the national sample. Of course financial assistance was also important to 41.6% of Earlham students. The ability of the institution's graduates to get good jobs or admittance to top graduate programs was less important to the incoming Earlham students than it was for members of our peer group and the national sample. The early-action program, and religious affiliation were more important for students in choosing Earlham than for students in the national sample. A much greater percentage of students from our peer group and the national sample felt that rankings in national magazines was a very important reason for choosing their institution. Low tuition and the desire to live close to home were more important to students in the national sample than to students at Earlham. The Quaker religious affiliation was a more important reason for choosing Earlham for the women than it was for the men, but only by a very slight margin. Students from our peer group were slightly more influenced by their school's web site than incoming Earlham students and the national sample.


Table 5

Probable Major Field of Study (Percentage of Students)

Probable Major

'76

'78

'80

'82

'84

'86

'88

'90

'92

'94

'96

'98

'00

'01

'02

'03
'04

English

5

4

4

4

4

4

5

9

6

5

9

7

6

6

7

6
7

Fine Arts

5

4

4

5

2

2

5

5

2

3

1

6

5

7

7

6
4

Languages & Literatures

--

4

4

6

--

4

4

5

3

2

3

4

3

5

7

6
5

Philosophy

--

0

1

2

--

2

3

3

1

1

0

3

3

3

3

1
2

Theology/Religion

--

1

2

1

--

0

1

0

2

0

1

1

2

2

1

2
0
Other Humanities
--
--
--
--
--
--
--
--
--
--
--
--
--
--
2
0
2

Humanities Total

18

14

16

21

--

17

19

22

14

11

14

34

19

23

27

21
20

Biological sciences

23

15

17

8

6

13

7

7

15

14

7

10

18

13

10

16
12

Engineering

2

3

5

3

5

3

2

1

1

2

3

1

1

1

1

1
0

Health professions

2

9

1

7

8

5

2

7

4

7

7

5

2

5

4

3
6

Math/Comp. Sci.

1

0

2

1

3

1

0

1

1

1

3

4

6

4

3

3
1

Physical sciences

5

5

6

8

2

4

2

3

3

3

3

8

2

3

4

3
3

Other nat. sciences

1

1

1

3

2

0

1

1

1

0

1

0

2

0

0

0
0

Natural sciences total

34

33

42

30

26

27

14

21

25

27

24

28

31

26

22

26
22

Anthropology/Sociology

--

2

3

3

--

1

4

5

3

9

5

2

3

3

2

4
5

Business

2

4

3

5

5

5

3

4

3

3

5

7

2

4

4

2
3

Economics

--

1

2

2

--

0

1

1

0

0

0

0

1

1

0

1
2

Education

7

3

2

3

4

3

5

6

4

7

5

9

4

3

7

6
6

History

0

3

0

2

--

4

2

5

2

1

3

3

2

3

3

2
2

Political science

5

7

6

9

--

11

12

7

8

6

4

3

10

8

5

6
9

Psychology

--

8

5

10

--

6

9

5

8

9

8

9

6

6

7

7
8

Other social sciences

15

4

2

3

--

4

5

5

2

2

3

6

5

6

6

4
3

Social sciences total

29

32

23

37

--

34

41

38

30

37

33

39

33

34

34
32
38

Other fields

6

4

6

2

5

2

5

3

3

1

3

2

3

2

3

3
2

Undecided

16

18

12

11

15

17

22

14

17

18

17

11

15

14

15

17
14

In terms of probable majors of this group of entering students, the social sciences continue to make the strongest showing overall. Notable major preferences this year include Biology (12%), Political Science (9%), Psychology (8%), English (7%), Education (6%), Health Professions (6%), Languages or Literature (5%) and Anthropology or Sociology (5%).


Table 6

Objectives Considered to be Essential or Very Important

Earlham %’s

 

Peer Group %'s

National Norm %'s

Objective

'69

'74

'78

'82

'86

'90

'94

'98

'01

'02

'03

'04

'04

'04

Improve understanding of other countries and cultures
--
--
--
--
--
--
--
--
--
--
77
76.5
67.4
42.7

Help others in difficulty

77

66

75

80

67

75

76

72

71

66

70
71.3
65.1
62.4

Develop a meaningful philosophy of life

87

78

73

71

68

71

71

69

68

64

60
65.2
60.5
42.1

Keep up to date with political affairs

68

52

47

--

--

73

49

44

52

47

51
59.3
56.8
34.3

Help to promote racial understanding

--

--

58

69

55

73

60

56

55

49

50
55.2
40.4
29.7

Influence social values

54

40

38

49

46

67

56

48

56

50

47
54.5
44.1
38.3

Raise a family

66

41

54

51

55

59

55

67

57

53

56
52.6
66.5
75.1

Become an authority in my field

57

55

65

65

63

57

59

56

53

40

48
43.5
55.6
58.3

Participate in a community action program

21

36

41

--

--

48

46

44

42

34

38
39.7
31.2
21.5

Influence political structure

34

23

19

--

--

41

30

30

35

29

32
38.7
29.4
19.7

Integrate spirituality into my life

--

--

--

--

--

--

--

--

45

46

44
38.7
37.0
39.5

Be involved in programs to clean up the environment

--

35

46

46

38

63

44

37

41

38

33
36.2
27.5
17.5

Obtain recognition from colleagues for contributions

33

27

37

--

--

39

42

41

42

30

31
35.8
45.5
51.8

Becoming a community leader

--

--

--

--

--

--

--

36

39

31

32
34.2
36.4
30.7

Write original works

29

26

25

--

--

29

31

32

27

33

29
30.6
23.3
15.1

Be very well off financially

23

20

30

29

28

28

34

40

33

36

35
29.4
50.4
73.6

Create artistic work

26

30

28

26

22

25

31

26

31

29

29
27.7
19.2
15.6

Become accomplished in one of the performing arts

19

22

22

20

18

21

25

19

19

19

24
21.3
19.3
15.1

Become successful in own business

20

19

32

25

23

20

19

29

20

18

16
20.3
28.2
41.0

Make a theoretical contribution to science

10

15

14

--

--

14

17

18

17

14

16
17.7
17.2

17.8

Have administrative responsibility for others' work

12

9

17

--

--

16

16

27

13

16

15
13.6
23.5
38.5

"Improving understanding of other countries and cultures" was an essential or very important life goal for 76.5% of the first-year students at Earlham. This is a significantly higher percentage than the national sample (42.7%). "Helping others in difficulty" is also a very important objective for 71.3% of these students as it is for 62.4% of the students in the national sample and 65.1% of students in our peer group. "Developing a meaningful philosophy of life" is an essential or very important life objective for 65.2% of the Earlham students compared to 42.1% nationally. Although "raising a family" currently ranks highest among these values for the national sample, only 52.6% of the Earlham sample feel that raising a family is essential or even very important. "Influencing social values" and "being involved in programs to clean up the environment" are goals of Earlham students which are not nearly as important to students in the national sample but more similar to the peer group sample. "Helping to promote racial understanding" has always been considered of greater importance to Earlham students compared to the national average, though recent years show there has been less importance placed on this issue compared to the early 1990's. There is, however, an increase in this number compared with last year's data (55.2% currently opposed to 49.7% in 2003). "Being very well off financially" is much more important to the national sample of students and somewhat more important to the peer group sample than to the Earlham sample. Earlham students were less concerned with "being successful at a business of their own" and "obtaining recognition from colleagues". "Integrating spirituality" into their lives was slightly more important to students at Earlham than the peer group sample but slightly less important than students in the national sample. However, generally speaking, the importance of each goal to the Earlham students was quite different than the importance to the national sample, once again confirming the distinctiveness of the Earlham population. Trends for past years can be found at http://www.earlham.edu/~ir/cirp_trends/objectives.htm


Table 7

Views on Social Issues: Government and Institutions

Agree strongly or somewhat that...
Earlham
Peer Group
National
Male %
Female %
Total %
Total %
Male %
Female %
Total %

The Federal government should do more to control the sale of handguns

83.2

92.1
88.7
86.6
70.1
85.7
78.7

Wealthy people should pay a larger share of taxes than they do now.

82.3

81.7
82.0
66.8
54.9
55.9
55.5

The death penalty should be abolished

74.0
77.0
75.8
57.9
29.5
36.2
33.2

Colleges should prohibit racist/sexist speech on campus

46.2
54
51
54.2
54.5
61.9
58.6

Abolish affirmative action in college admissions

30.2
28.2
29.0
47.6
56.1
45.8
50.4

There is too much concern in the courts for the rights of criminals

20.2
19.4
19.7
35.7
61
55.7
58.1

Realistically, an individual can do little to bring about changes in our society.

18.5
13.6
15.5
19.6
31.4
23.1
26.8

Federal military spending should be increased

8.4
8.9
8.7
20.1
39.9
31.7
35.4

 

Earlham students' views on the death penalty and the rights of criminals are quite different from those of the national sample and the peer group. Earlham students in general have very liberal views on issues of government and institutions. There is not a significant difference between females in the Earlham sample and males. For some issues females are more liberal, for others males have more liberal viewpoints. Both sexes are more liberal than their national peers. The Earlham sample is more in line with the peer group sample, yet it remains clear that the Earlham students have more liberal attitudes than even their peer group.

Table 8

Views on Social Issues: Lifestyles

Agree strongly or somewhat that...

Earlham

Peer Group

National

Male %

Female %

Total %

Total %

Male %

Female %

Total %

Same sex couples should have the right to legal marital status

84.1
90.1
87.8
78.6
48.3
63.5
56.7

Abortion should be legal

81.5
83.8
82.9
78.7
54.6
53.3
53.9

Marijuana should be legalized

72.3
57
62.9
54.1
43.1
32.5
37.2

Racial discrimination is no longer a major problem in America

11.7
8.9
10
14.5
27.9
18.5
22.7

It is important to have laws prohibiting homosexual relationships

4.2
6.2
5.5
12.5
38
23.4
29.9

The activities of married women are best confined to home and family

8.4
3.6
5.4
9.9
27.4
15.8
21

Although 87.8% of Earlham students agree that same sex couples should have the right to legal marital status, just 56.7% of the national sample agree with this idea. The majority of the new Earlham students also agree that abortion and marijuana should be legalized. These views contrast sharply with the national group. In issues regarding homosexual relationships there are very little gender differences among the Earlham students, unlike the national sample where more males than females feel it is important to have laws prohibiting homosexual relationships. This can result in more opportunity for misunderstandings and confusion about behavior among the Earlham male students. Previous year data on this topic can be seen on a CIRP trends chart at http://www.earlham.edu/~ir/cirp_trends/agree.htm


Table 9

Activities Engaged in by Students in the Past Year

Activity

Earlham

Peer Group %

All Institutions %

Male %

Female %

Total %

Performed volunteer work

86.6
90
88.8
89.9
82.1

Studied with other students

72.3
83.8
79.3
90.1
86.6

*Socialized with a different ethnic group

68.9
72.3
71
71.9
67.8

Attended a religious service

63.9
66.5
65.5
72.5
80.4

Came late to class

70.5
59.6
63.9
66.3
63.2

Participated in organized demonstrations

60.5
57.6
58.7
41.4
49.2

Played a musical instrument

56.3
50.3
52.6
52.8
43.2

*Discussed politics

61.3
52.9
56.1
48.9
25.5

Tutored another student

44.5
56.5
52
62.7
55.3

Drank wine or liquor

54.6
54.5
54.5
63.6
51.9

Drank beer

46.3
38.7
41.7
55
45.5

*Discussed religion with friends or family

58
73.3
67.5
56
53.7

*Was bored in class

43.7
41.4
42.3
40.1
42.8

*Felt overwhelmed by all they had to do

16.8
44.5
33.9
31
27.4

Was a guest in a teacher's home

38.6
42.9
41.2
35
24

*Asked a teacher for advice after class

31.1
32.5
31.9
34.9
24.9

*Voted in a student election

20.2
19.4
19.7
29
21.6

*Felt depressed

8.4
15.7
12.9
8.4
7.7

*Smoked cigarettes

10.9
4.2
6.8
4.6
6.4

*Percentage reporting frequently only. Other percentages are responses of "frequently" or "occasionally".

The most common activities among Earlham students during the past year were performing volunteer work, studying with other students, and socializing with another ethnic group. Earlham students were more likely to have discussed politics, participated in organized demonstrations, been a guest in a teacher's home, or played a musical instrument than their national counterparts. A smaller percentage (65.5%) of Earlham students attended a religious service compared to the national sample (80.4%). It should be noted that involvement in religious activities among college aged students nationally is at its lowest point in 35 years. However, a majority of the first-year respondents (67.5%) indicated that they frequently discussed religion with friends or family during the past year. This compares to 53.7% nationally. It is apparent that students are interested in discussing religion, but do not attend religious services for some reason. Some gender differences could be noted in the activities engaged in by these Earlham students in the past year. The men were more likely to frequently smoke cigarettes and come late to class whereas the Earlham women were more likely to perform volunteer work and to feel depressed or overwhelmed by all they had to do.

This year the percentage of Earlham students who drank wine or liquor during the last year is very similar to the national percentage, although somewhat less than the peer group sample. Comparing these student responses to the responses of the students who entered Earlham in 2003, we see an increase in the percentage of Earlham students who drank wine or liquor during the past year. While 50.8% in 2003 reported drinking wine or liquor, 54.5% of the entering students in 2004 reported the same.

We also see a slight increase in the number of students who consumed beer - 40.9% of the students entering Earlham in 2003 reported drinking beer in the last year and 41.7% of the 2004 incoming Earlham first-years reported the same.

Table 10

Areas in Which Student Rated Self Above Average or Top 10%

Area

Earlham

Peer Group %

All Institutions %

Male %

Female %

Total %

Academic ability

73.9
77.5
76.1
87.5
69.5

Cooperativeness

69.7
67
68.1
67.5
68.7

Understanding of others

66.4
78
73.6
68
62.8

Creativity

59.6
62.9
61.6
61.6
55.7

Self understanding

61.3
58.1
59.4
59.2
51.3

Self-confidence (intellectual)

68.9
44
53.6
64.5
57.6

Drive to achieve

44.5
60.8
54.5
74.9
70.9

Writing ability

52.9
67
61.6
62.4
46.4

Leadership ability

48.7
54.5
52.2
61.5
59.7

Emotional health

45.4
41.4
42.9
50.2
50.9

Physical health

51.2
43.9
46.8
54.8
52.2

Spirituality

32.8
41.4
38
35.9
36.5

Artistic ability

44.5
41.3
42.6
37.4
30.1

Self-confidence (social)

47.9
33
38.7
45.9
49.4

Public speaking ability

39.5
38.2
38.7
43.8
35.1

Mathematical ability

35.3
26.2
29.6
47.7
44.9

Computer skills

46.2
18.8
29.4
27.8
36.8

Religiousness

21.9
20.9
21.3
22.3
31.3

Self-ratings of academic abilities continue to remain high among the Earlham students, though not as high as the peer group sample. The Earlham sample also rated themselves considerably higher than the national sample in their artistic ability and creativity. Although 38% of the Earlham students ranked their "spirituality" as above average which is higher than both the national and peer group samples, Earlham students ranked their "religiousness" as similar to the peer group sample and slightly lower than the national sample (21.3% for Earlham, 22.3% for the peer group, and 31.3% for the national sample). Earlham men saw themselves better in mathematics and computer skills. Earlham women ranked themselves lower in physical health and both intellectual and social self-confidence than the Earlham men. The women also rated themselves as having a greater drive to achieve than the men, although both men and women rated themselves much lower than the national norm in both of these areas.

Table 11

Students Estimate chances are Very Good That They Will...

Activity

Earlham

Peer Group %

All Institutions %

Male %

Female %

Total %

Socialize with someone of another racial/ethnic group

80.7
87.4
84.8
80.0
63.1

Be satisfied with this college

63.9
65.4
64.8
67.1
51.3

Study abroad

57.1
67
63.2
57.1
24.1

Participate in student clubs/organizations

53.8
66
61.3
63.5
40.2
Communicate regularly with professors
54.6
64.9
61.0
56.9
30.6

Make at least a "B" average

61.3
66.5
64.5
65.4
59.6

Perform volunteer or community service work

37.8
57.1
49.7
42.8
24.1

Get a job to help pay for college expenses

43.7
44
43.9
43.8
47.2

Participate in student protests or demonstrations

33.6
41.9
38.7
20.3
6

Change career choice

22.7
31.4
28.1
29
13.4
Strengthen religion
21
32.5
28.1
22.1
24.8

Play varsity/intercollegiate athletics

23.5
21.5
22.3
29.1
15.7

Change major field

18.5
24.6
22.3
23.3
14.2

Seek personal counseling

8.4
14.1
11.9
9.3
7.1

Transfer to another college before graduating

3.4
3.1
3.2
2.7
7.1

Work full time while attending college

.8
2.1
1.6
1.4
6.3

Join a social fraternity or sorority

.8
.5
.6
9.9
9.1

Compared to the national and peer group sample, there is a greater percentage of new Earlham first-year students who feel the chances are very good that they will socialize with someone of another racial or ethnic group, perform volunteer work, and participate in student protests or demonstrations. Students at Earlham are three times more likely to expect to study abroad than the national sample. It is also more likely that an Earlham student will change their career choice or major field than the national sample. Students in the national survey are more likely to work full time or transfer to another college, than the Earlham or peer group sample. However, it is interesting to note that the percentage of incoming Earlham males who estimated that they would get a job to help pay for college expenses increased compared with the number in 2003. However, the number is still less than the national sample. Fortunately 64.8% of the first-year respondents indicate that the chances are very good they will be satisfied with Earlham. This is slightly less than the peer group sample of which 67.1% of students feel they will be satisfied with the college they are currently attending but slightly more than the national sample of which 51.3% of new students feel this way.

 

APPENDIX


Peer Group
 
 
Bates College
Beloit College
Carleton College
Centre College
Colorado College
Connecticut College
Franklin & Marshall College
Grinnell College
Guilford College
Hamilton College
Haverford College
Knox College
Macalester College
Oberlin College
Occidental College
Reed College
Rhodes College
Scripps College
Trinity College
University of the South
Washington and Lee University
Whitman College

 

 

Created by Mary Ann Weaver
weavema@earlham.edu
May 3, 2005