CIRP First-Year Student Survey Fall 2005
Office of Institutional Research

Mary Ann Weaver

June, 2006

 

 

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 2005, this survey was completed by 263,710 students from 385 institutions across the nation. This number included 286 of Earlham’s 324 first-year students (88%). 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 62.2% of Earlham’s first-year student sample. This year 11 students (3.8%) did not provide gender information. The proportion of African-American students among the respondents is 9.9%. The proportion at the national level this year for all institutions is 11.3% and 4.3% for our peer group. Although 76.7% of the Earlham respondents identified themselves as White/Caucasian, 21.8% were from minority categories and 5.9% indicated "other" ethnicity. This reflects students indicating more than one racial category.

In religious preference, 13.4% of Earlham first-years are Quaker (versus .2% nationally), 5.3% are Jewish, 6.5% Catholic, 6.5% Unitarian Universalist and 3.2% Buddhist. There were 8.1% who responded that they are “other Christian” and 5.7% who said “other religion.” Many more Earlham students (36%) reported having no religious preference compared to the national sample where 19.7% had no religious preference.

Very few of the respondents from this first-year Earlham class (2.4%) live within five miles of campus; 10.6% report living 6 to 100 miles away. Another 32.7% live within 101 and 500 miles of the college, and 54.3% 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 98% of the Earlham first-year students plan on living in college housing. This compares to 79.3% of students nationally.

Eighty percent of the Earlham first-year students responded to a question about their parent's income. Parental income below $25,000 was reported by 16.9% of these new students at Earlham; income of $50,000 or more by 67.6%. Over half (57.7%) of this entering cohort expect family resources to cover over $10,000 of their first year’s educational expenses. This compares to 30.9% nationally and 66.8% for our peer group. Another 44.2% 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 50.3% of the respondents from our peer group who expected financial aid to cover over $10,000 of their first-year expenses, but significantly higher than the 17.6% of students nationwide who were expecting that much financial aid. Over half of the Earlham first-year student respondents (62.8%) have some concern about their ability to finance their college education, but feel they probably will have enough funds (49.7% for our peer group and 52.7% nationally). About 7.9% of Earlham’s first-year students in 2005 have a major concern about finances compared to 14% of the students entering Earlham in 2004 having major financial concerns.

Many of the Earlham students (29.8%) have parents who are divorced or separated compared to 24.9% nationally and 18.5% from our peer group institutions.

Earlham students tend to come from well-educated families. Over half (56.4%) of the fathers of entering students hold graduate degrees (compared to 22.9% nationally and 52.2% of peer group). Almost 15% of the fathers have had a formal education of high school or less (the figure is 28.7% for the national group and 8.8% for the peer group). About half (48.4%) of the Earlham students' mothers have graduates degrees (17.7% nationally and 40% of the peer group) and 11.5% have high school or less (26.5% nationally and 8.2% of the peer group).

A closer look at the education of the parents of students entering Earlham in 2005 reveals that 66.7% 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. About 13% of these students are first generation students - neither of their parents have college degrees.

There continues to be a sizeable number of students' parents with careers in education with 12.9% of their fathers and 23.4% of their mothers in the field of education. The college teacher profession is most popular for the fathers (7.5%) while the mothers are more inclined to be elementary teachers (12.3%). In 2004, 12.5% of the fathers and 19.7% of the mothers worked in the education field. Only 4.9% of the Earlham students' mothers are full-time homemakers compared to 9.5% of the nationwide sample and 12.5% of the peer group sample.

A Master's degree is the eventual educational goal of 38.2% of these first-year Earlhamites; 32.3% plan to seek an Ed.D. or Ph.D. (versus 3.4% nationally); an additional 7.4% of these entering students expect to earn a doctorate in a medical field. This is a smaller percentage than our peer group. According to HEDS, 14.1% of students at our peer institutions plan to get a medical degree.

Earlham is the first college choice for 68% of entering students. This is down from last year when 74.8% of Earlham first year students indicated Earlham was their first choice of colleges. In 2005, 68.6% of students in our peer group and 69.8% nationwide were attending their first choice college. 12.6% of Earlham’s entering students did not apply at any other college; 21.4% applied at seven or more other colleges. Responses from our peer group show similar figures with 31.6% applying to seven or more other colleges and 13.9% applying only to the school they are attending. Nationwide, 17.5% applied to only one college and 11.2% applied to seven or more.

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 (71%) of Earlham’s entering students spent six or more hours per week socializing; 25% spent sixteen or more hours per week. This has decreased slightly the last two years. In 2004, 27.1% reported spending 16 or more hours socializing and in 2003 30.4% reported the same. More than half of the respondents (52%) spent six or more hours a week studying or doing homework, and 14.3% 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 31.9% of students nationally reported spending more than six hours studying, and a mere 6.5% spent over sixteen hours a week on homework. Many of the Earlham students held a job during the last year. 11.9% of the soon-to-be Earlham students spent sixteen or more hours working for pay each week while 29.7% spent six or more hours doing the same. Students also spent time in extracurricular activities. 63.8% 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 (68.7% and 57% respectively). It is interesting to note however, that for all groups, the percentages are down from the incoming 2004 class where 77.4% of Earlham students, 82.4% of our peer group, and 71.6% 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

25.8
24.7
25.1
8.9
3.4

Liberal

41.9
60.4
53.4
48.3
27.1

Middle of the road

26.9
10.4
16.6
27.3
45

Conservative

5.4
4.5
4.9
14.3
22.6

Far right

0
0
0
1.2
1.9

As usual, Earlham students tend to be much more liberal than their national counterparts. Contrary to the EC students in 2004, the 2005 Earlham men tended to report being "middle of the road" more frequently than women, and the EC women reported being "liberal" more than Earlham men. The number of students reporting "far left" political views increased from 20% in 2004 to 25% in 2005. The percentage of "middle of the road" responses is less than half the national figure and even less than our peer group No Earlham students reported being "far right", however the percentage being "conservative" increased slightly from 2.3% in 2004 to 4.9% in 2005.

Table 2

Probable Career Occupation

Occupation

Earlham

Peer Group %

All Institutions %

Male %

Female %

Total %

Accountant or actuary

0
.6
.3
.6
2.5

Actor or entertainer

1.9
.6
1.0
1.4
1.5

Architect or urban planner

0
0
0
.6
1.1

Artist

2.8
4.1
3.5
1.6
2.1

Business executive (management)

4.7
1.8
3.5
5.1
7.9

Business owner or proprietor

2.8
.6
1.4
2.0
3.6

Business sales representative or buyer

0
.6
.3
.4
1.0

Clergy (minister, priest)

0
0
0
.3
.3

Clinical psychologist

1.9
5.9
4.2
1.7
1.5

College teacher

3.8
1.8
2.4
1.7
.5

Computer programmer or analyst

1.9
0
.7
.6
1.8

Conservationist or forester

1.9
.6
1.0
.7
.2

Dentist (including orthodontist)

0
0
0
.9
1.1

Engineer

1.9
.6
1.0
1.6
6.6

Farmer or rancher

0
0
0
.2
.2

Foreign service worker

3.8
6.5
5.6
2.8
.8

Homemaker (full-time)

0
0
0
.1
.1

Lawyer (attorney) or judge

1.9
4.1
3.1
6.9
4.1

Musician (performer, composer)

6.6
0
2.4
2.1
1.7

Nurse

0
.6
.3
.4
3.9
Pharmacist
.9
.6
.7
.5
2.3

Physician

2.8
4.7
4.2
9.9
6.0

Policymaker/Government

2.8
1.8
2.1
3.2
1.0

School counselor

0
0
0
.2
.3

Scientific researcher

4.7
3.0
3.8
4.1
1.8

Social, welfare, recreation worker

1.9
5.3
3.8
1.0
.9

Teacher (elementary)

.9
3.6
2.4
1.1
5.1

Teacher (secondary)

4.7
3.0
3.8
3.2
4.8

Therapist (physical, occupational, speech)

1.9
3.0
2.4
1.1
3.0

Veterinarian

0
0
0
1.1
1.0

Writer or journalist

4.7
4.7
5.2
5.5
2.6

Semi-skilled trades

2.8
2.8
1.7
.2
.3

Other career

7.5
7.5
11.2
4.8
8.0

Undecided

25.5
25.4
25.2
29.4
14.1

As difficult as it may be for these first year students to consider what careers they expect to pursue, this survey indicated that the career expectations are fairly similar among all students. However the Earlham students seem to be leaning more toward some of the “helping” professions such as clinical psychologist, foreign service worker, therapist, or social worker compared to the peer group and the national sample. The peer group sample had a greater percentage of students (9.9%) expecting to be physicians compared to 4.2% of Earlham students and 6.0% of the national sample. A smaller percentage (14.1%) of the nationwide sample are undecided about their probable career compared to Earlham students (25.2%) and the students from our peer institutions (29.4%).

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

82.3
89.2
86.6
89.5
77.7

To gain general education

65.6
84.7
77.5
83.0
65.4

To become a more cultured person

47.9
73.9
64.0
63.6
42.5

To prepare myself for graduate or professional school

45.8
61.1
55.3
64.6
58.1

To find my purpose in life

46.9
54.5
51.6
47.9
51.7

To get a better job

46.9
46.5
46.6
60.2
72.2
To get training for a specific career
34.4
34.8
34.7
35.8
69.4

To make more money

43.8
21.7
30.0
50.7
71.0

Parents wanted me to go

30.2
26.8
28.1
33.6
43.7

Wanted to get away from home

26.0
23.1
24.2
20.6
21.7
Mentor/role model encouraged me
12.6
10.3
11.2
11.5
15.8
There was nothing better to do
8.3
2.5
4.7
3.9
4.0

Could not find a job

4.2
1.9
2.8
2.5
6.5

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. Over half (55.3%) are interested in preparing themselves for graduate or professional school. Earlham students are much less interested in the benefit of making more money and getting a better job or getting training for a specific career than both our peer group and the national sample. The national sample of students was more interested in getting trained for a specific career than the EC students. We are grateful that there are only 4.7% of first-year students at Earlham who came because there was nothing better to do, and only 2.8% 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 %

A visit to campus
59.4
66.7
63.9
62.4
42.2

Wanted to go to a school the size of this college

56.3
67.9
63.5
59.3
38.6

College has a very good academic reputation

50.0
61.9
57.4
75.8
57.9

Offered financial assistance

45.8
50.0
48.4
40.5
35.4

Graduates get good jobs

36.5
34.6
35.3
50.4
51.2
Grads gain admission to top graduate schools
29.2
38.1
34.7
44.7
31.5

Good social reputation

29.2
29.0
29.1
34.4
31.2

College has low tuition

21.9
23.2
22.7
16.0
32.4

Religious affiliation/orientation of college

15.6
25.8
21.9
4.0
6.9

Information from a Web site

14.7
25.2
21.2
16.5
15.9

Admitted through early action/decision

20.8
21.4
21.2
25.9
10.1

Rankings in national magazines

11.5
16.1
14.3
24.7
16.6

High School counselor advised me

8.3
7.8
8.0
8.2
8.0

Relatives wanted me to come

10.5
5.8
7.6
6.2
10.6

Not offered aid by first choice

5.2
7.7
6.8
4.9
6.6

Wanted to live near home

5.2
6.5
6.0
7.1
18.7

Teacher advised me

8.3
1.9
4.4
4.7
5.4

Private college counselor advised me

5.3
3.2
4.0
4.6
2.7

 

The campus visit was very important for 63.9% of the EC students in choosing their college. Other reasons for choosing Earlham that was noted by a large percentage of Earlham students included the size of Earlham (63.5%), its good academic reputation (57.4%) and their offer of financial assistance (48.4%). Students from the peer group placed a higher importance on the academic reputation of the college of their choice.

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
'05

English

5

4

4

4

4

4

5

9

6

5

9

7

6

6

7

6
7
6

Fine Arts

5

4

4

5

2

2

5

5

2

3

1

6

5

7

7

6
4
9

Languages & Literatures

--

4

4

6

--

4

4

5

3

2

3

4

3

5

7

6
5
6

Philosophy

--

0

1

2

--

2

3

3

1

1

0

3

3

3

3

1
2
2

Theology/Religion

--

1

2

1

--

0

1

0

2

0

1

1

2

2

1

2
0
0
Other Humanities
--
--
--
--
--
--
--
--
--
--
--
--
--
--
2
0
2
1

Humanities Total

18

14

16

21

--

17

19

22

14

11

14

34

19

23

27

21
20
24

Biological sciences

23

15

17

8

6

13

7

7

15

14

7

10

18

13

10

16
12
10

Engineering

2

3

5

3

5

3

2

1

1

2

3

1

1

1

1

1
0
1

Health professions

2

9

1

7

8

5

2

7

4

7

7

5

2

5

4

3
6
6

Math/Comp. Sci.

1

0

2

1

3

1

0

1

1

1

3

4

6

4

3

3
1
1

Physical sciences

5

5

6

8

2

4

2

3

3

3

3

8

2

3

4

3
3
1

Other nat. sciences

1

1

1

3

2

0

1

1

1

0

1

0

2

0

0

0
0
0

Natural sciences total

34

33

42

30

26

27

14

21

25

27

24

28

31

26

22

26
22
19

Anthropology/Sociology

--

2

3

3

--

1

4

5

3

9

5

2

3

3

2

4
5
4

Business

2

4

3

5

5

5

3

4

3

3

5

7

2

4

4

2
3
3

Economics

--

1

2

2

--

0

1

1

0

0

0

0

1

1

0

1
2
2

Education

7

3

2

3

4

3

5

6

4

7

5

9

4

3

7

6
6
4

History

0

3

0

2

--

4

2

5

2

1

3

3

2

3

3

2
2
2

Political science

5

7

6

9

--

11

12

7

8

6

4

3

10

8

5

6
9
8

Psychology

--

8

5

10

--

6

9

5

8

9

8

9

6

6

7

7
8
12

Other social sciences

15

4

2

3

--

4

5

5

2

2

3

6

5

6

6

4
3
5

Social sciences total

29

32

23

37

--

34

41

38

30

37

33

39

33

34

34
32
38
40

Other fields

6

4

6

2

5

2

5

3

3

1

3

2

3

2

3

3
2
6

Undecided

16

18

12

11

15

17

22

14

17

18

17

11

15

14

15

17
14
11

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 Psychology (12%), Biology (10%), Fine Arts (9%), and Political Science (8%). Only 11% indicated that they were undecided about their probable major which is lower than most previous years.


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

'05
'05
'05
Improve understanding of other countries and cultures
--
--
--
--
--
--
--
--
--
--
77
76.5
79.6
71.7
48.8

Help others in difficulty

77

66

75

80

67

75

76

72

71

66

70
71.3
75.5
70.2
66.3

Develop a meaningful philosophy of life

87

78

73

71

68

71

71

69

68

64

60
65.2
65.2
61.4
45.0

Help to promote racial understanding

--

--

58

69

55

73

60

56

55

49

50
55.2
58.8
42.7
33.3

Keep up to date with political affairs

68

52

47

--

--

73

49

44

52

47

51
59.3
56.8
57.4
36.4

Raise a family

66

41

54

51

55

59

55

67

57

53

56
52.6
55.8
68.6
75.9

Influence social values

54

40

38

49

46

67

56

48

56

50

47
54.5
54.4
44.9
41.3

Become an authority in my field

57

55

65

65

63

57

59

56

53

40

48
43.5
49.4
56.3
59.1

Integrate spirituality into my life

--

--

--

--

--

--

--

--

45

46

44
38.7
44.8
37.3
40.5

Participate in a community action program

21

36

41

--

--

48

46

44

42

34

38
39.7
42.6
35.9
25.6

Obtain recognition from colleagues for contributions

33

27

37

--

--

39

42

41

42

30

31
35.8
42.4
47.3
54.2

Becoming a community leader

--

--

--

--

--

--

--

36

39

31

32
34.2
41.2
38.6
33.9

Be involved in programs to clean up the environment

--

35

46

46

38

63

44

37

41

38

33
36.2
37.8
32.1
20.3

Influence political structure

34

23

19

--

--

41

30

30

35

29

32
38.7
35.4
29.1
21.8

Be very well off financially

23

20

30

29

28

28

34

40

33

36

35
29.4
30.0
52.9
74.5

Write original works

29

26

25

--

--

29

31

32

27

33

29
30.6
27.2
22.7
16.0

Create artistic work

26

30

28

26

22

25

31

26

31

29

29
27.7
26.8
19.4
16.5

Become successful in own business

20

19

32

25

23

20

19

29

20

18

16
20.3
22.9
29.6
42.6

Become accomplished in one of the performing arts

19

22

22

20

18

21

25

19

19

19

24
21.3
19.6
19.4
16.2

Have administrative responsibility for others' work

12

9

17

--

--

16

16

27

13

16

15
13.6
16.5
25.9
40.4

Make a theoretical contribution to science

10

15

14

--

--

14

17

18

17

14

16
17.7
16.4
17.9
18.9

"Improving understanding of other countries and cultures" was an essential or very important life goal for 79.6% of the first-year students at Earlham. This is a significantly higher percentage than the national sample (48.8%). "Helping others in difficulty" is also a very important objective for 75.5% of these students as it is for 66.3% of the students in the national sample and 70.2% 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 45% nationally. Although "raising a family" currently ranks highest among these values for the national sample, only 55.8% 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. and there is an increase in this number compared with last year's data (58.8% currently opposed to 55.2% in 2004). "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 and 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 %
*Fed Govt not doing enough to control environmental pollution
93.4
92.3
93.0
88.8
73.9
79.8
77.1
*National health care plan is needed
90.6
91.7
92.3
78.3
69.3
77.1
73.6

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

82.6
94.0
88.8
85.3
71.0
84.9
78.7

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

78.6
85.6
84.0
65.4
57.3
58.9
58.1
*Only volunteers should serve in military
81.1
81.7
81.5
73.8
64.2
62.2
63.1
*Dissent is a critical component of the political process
72.6
75.1
73.8
78.9
66.8
59.8
63.0

The death penalty should be abolished

59.1
76.9
70.7
54.9
29.7
36.3
33.3

Colleges should prohibit racist/sexist speech on campus

40.0
53.9
50.5
57.0
55.7
62.0
59.1
*High school grading has become too easy
51.0
49.7
50.3
56.0
53.5
48.3
50.6
*Through hard work, everybody can succeed in American society
38.7
36.7
37.8
56.6
78.7
78.4
78.6

Abolish affirmative action in college admissions

40.4
32.5
34.6
47.1
54.0
44.0
48.5

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

28.1
15.7
20.5
37.4
60.7
55.5
57.9

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

29.5
17.4
17.9
20.6
31.4
23.9
27.3
*Undocumented immigrants should be denied public education
24.5
13.0
16.4
29.3
49.6
36.1
42.1

Federal military spending should be increased

6.6
5.4
6.0
19.2
37.6
31.4
34.2
*These questions were new in 2005

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. 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. This year we also see some gender differences in the Earlham students. A higher percentage of females at Earlham (76.9%) were strongly or somewhat in favor of the death penalty being abolished compared to the males (59.1%). They were also more likely to feel the federal government should do more to control sale of handguns, that wealthy people should pay more taxes, and that colleges should prohibit racist/sexist speech on campus. And the Earlham females were less likely to feel affirmative action should be abolished, that there is too much concern for rights of criminals and that an individual can do little to bring change in society.

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

82.8
85.8
84.8
78.7
50.1
64.3
57.9

Abortion should be legal

82.9
83.4
83.7
77.6
55.8
54.8
55.2

If two people like each other, it's okay for them to have sex even if they've known each other for only a very short time

76.0
53.3
60.7
55.7
58.1
34.1
44.9

Marijuana should be legalized

61.5
56.3
57.9
52.1
42.8
33.6
37.7

Racial discrimination is no longer a major problem in America

14.1
9.5
10.7
12.5
25.9
17.1
21.0

It is important to have laws prohibiting homosexual relationships

10.5
7.2
8.0
11.9
35.2
21.0
27.4

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

5.8
5.3
5.3
10.0
26.2
15.5
20.3

Although 84.8% of Earlham students agree that same sex couples should have the right to legal marital status, just 57.9% 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. Although fewer Earlham females compared to males felt that it was okay for two people to have sex even if they've only known each other for a very short time, the EC females remain much more liberal than the female national sample. 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

82.1
87.0
85.7
90.9
83.2

**Used a personal computer

90.6
82.2
85.7
85.7
85.6

Studied with other students

84.9
85.1
85.3
90.7
86.5

**Used the Internet for research or homework

79.2
79.3
79.0
79.0
79.7

*Socialized with a different ethnic group

79.2
78.7
78.7
71.9
70.2

Attended a religious service

73.1
75.1
74.7
73.5
79.6

Came late to class

67.9
64.1
66.2
64.3
62.3

Participated in organized demonstrations

56.6
67.3
64.2
41.5
49.7

*Was bored in class

46.2
40.1
63.3
37.5
40.5

Drank wine or liquor

55.2
55.6
54.7
636.9
50.5

**Discussed politics in class

51.9
51.5
52.1
55.1
46.1

**Discussed politics with family

50.9
50.3
51.7
51.7
26.9

**Performed community service as part of a class

54.7
49.5
50.8
50.8
54.6

Played a musical instrument

50.9
50.9
50.7
53.6
43.7

Tutored another student

42.5
54.4
50.4
60.8
54.2

**Discussed politics with friends

44.3
51.5
49.7
49.7
27.8

*Discussed religion with friends or family

39.6
50.9
47.9
42.6
35.0

Drank beer

49.1
46.7
46.9
56.1
43.4

Was a guest in a teacher's home

34.9
38.5
36.7
35.4
23.9

*Felt overwhelmed by all they had to do

21.0
42.0
34.0
34.8
26.3

**Worked on a political campaign

20.7
30.1
26.2
26.2
12.0

*Asked a teacher for advice after class

21.0
28.1
24.7
34.3
24.9

*Voted in a student election

26.7
21.7
24.1
26.5
23.3

*Felt depressed

12.4
14.2
13.3
6.8
7.0

*Smoked cigarettes

5.7
5.3
5.2
5.5
5.7
*Percentage reporting frequently only. Other percentages are responses of "frequently" or "occasionally".
**These questions were new in 2005.

During the year prior to coming to college, the activities among college students nationwide appear to be similar, although Earlham students were more likely to have participated in organized demonstrations, discussed religion with family or friends, accept an invitation to a teacher’s home, and discuss politics outside of class. A slightly smaller percentage of Earlham students drank beer, wine or liquor compared to the students from our peer institutions and the Earlham students were more likely to have frequently felt depressed or bored in class.

The greatest gender difference is seen in students who felt overwhelmed by all they had to do where 42% of the females felt this way during the previous year and only 21% of the males. In 2004, gender differences were seen in students who smoked cigarettes and students who felt depressed; however those differences are not as obvious in 2005.

The greatest difference seen between Earlham and the peer institutions was in students who participated in organized demonstrations. The peer institutions only had 41.5% of their students demonstrating compared to 49.7% nationwide and 64.2% at Earlham.Almost half of the students at Earlham and at the peer institutions discussed politics with their friends and/or families during the past year, whereas nationwide slightly more than a fourth of the students did so.

Table 10

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

Area

Earlham

Peer Group %

All Institutions %

Male %

Female %

Total %

Academic ability

75.5
78.5
77.8
87.0
72.5

Creativity

62.3
77.1
72.1
65.2
58.0

Cooperativeness

69.8
72.5
71.9
74.0
71.1

Understanding of others

66.9
71.8
70.8
71.0
63.8

Self understanding

62.3
67.6
66.9
61.2
59.7

Drive to achieve

53.8
70.0
64.4
76.7
68.4

Self-confidence (intellectual)

66.1
56.9
61.3
64.5
68.5

Leadership ability

62.2
57.5
59.2
64.3
64.5

Writing ability

50.0
61.5
58.0
62.3
45.5

Physical health

54.7
45.2
49.5
58.9
66.8

Self-confidence (social)

47.2
41.9
44.7
48.8
56.8

Spirituality

40.0
47.9
44.5
36.1
35.9

Emotional health

50.0
39.7
43.8
54.4
60.8

Public speaking ability

44.3
40.2
42.0
44.2
39.7

Artistic ability

32.1
43.1
38.7
36.9
27.0

Mathematical ability

41.5
28.9
33.6
46.9
53.8

Computer skills

46.2
15.6
28.5
30.5
50.3

Religiousness

16.2
30.0
24.0
22.7
29.0

Self-ratings of academic abilities continue to remain high among the Earlham students, thought not as high as the peer group sample. The Earlham sample rated themselves considerably higher than the national sample in their artistic ability and creativity.

There are significant gender differences seen in the Earlham students in many areas. Only 15.6% of the females rated their computer skills as above average compared to 46.2% of the males. Females also rated their mathematical ability and their physical and emotional health lower than the males. The Earlham males rated their drive to achieve and writing ability lower than the females. The Earlham females saw themselves as more religious than the males.

Overall, the Earlham students rated their drive to achieve, leadership ability, physical and emotional health, mathematical ability and computer skills below the students at our peer institutions and the national sample. However the male ratings in most of these areas were more similar to the peer group and national sample.

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

83.0
92.3
88.8
79.6
59.0

Study abroad

50.0
75.1
65.4
60.1
18.3

Make at least a "B" average

59.4
67.5
64.7
65.5
59.3
Communicate regularly with professors
54.7
66.9
61.9
56.2
27.5

Participate in student clubs/organizations

47.2
69.2
60.8
62.4
34.2

Be satisfied with this college

51.9
65.7
60.5
66.4
47.6

Perform volunteer or community service work

32.1
62.1
50.0
44.9
16.5

Get a job to help pay for college expenses

44.3
52.1
49.7
42.9
39.2

Participate in student protests or demonstrations

23.6
40.2
35.0
17.0
5.7
Strengthen religion
20.8
35.5
30.1
23.1
19.6

Change career choice

18.9
27.8
24.8
29.1
11.4

Play varsity/intercollegiate athletics

32.1
18.3
24.8
28.5
20.4

Change major field

14.2
23.1
19.6
23.9
12.6
Participate in student government
10.4
12.4
12.2
9.0
6.1

Seek personal counseling

13.2
11.8
11.9
8.7
5.9

Transfer to another college before graduating

8.5
4.1
5.6
2.5
6.2

Work full time while attending college

3.8
1.8
2.4
1.3
5.1

Join a social fraternity or sorority

1.9
0
.7
9.1
7.8

There are remarkable differences between Earlham students and the national sample in most all of these items. For example only 18.3% of the national sample feel the chances are very good that they will do study abroad compared to 65.4% of the Earlham students. Most disturbing is the fact that 5.6% (16) of the Earlham students feel the chances are very good they will transfer to another college before graduating; another 19.6% (56) felt there was some chance. However 60.5% indicated they will probably be satisfied at Earlham compared to only 47.6% of the national sample that feel they will be satisfied with their college choice.

The gender differences are noticeable in the areas of strengthening religious beliefs, participating in student protests, and performing volunteer work where a greater percentage of Earlham females were more likely to expect to participate in these activities compared to Earlham males. Not surprisingly, there were more Earlham males planning to participate in varsity sports than females.

While 35% of these first-year Earlham students expect to participate in student protests, only 17% of the students from the peer institutions felt the same.

 

APPENDIX

Peer Group
Bates College
Carleton College
Centre College
College of Wooster
Colorado College
Connecticut College
Franklin & Marshall College
Grinnell College
Guilford College
Hamilton College
Hampshire College
Haverford College
Kalamazoo College
Macalester College
Oberlin College
Occidental College
Rhodes College
Scripps College
St. Olaf College
Trinity College
University of the South
Washington and Lee University
Whitman College
 

Created by Mary Ann Weaver
weavema@earlham.edu
May , 2006