CIRP First-Year Student Survey Fall 2006
Office of Institutional Research

Mary Ann Weaver and George W. Ferriell, Jr.

March, 2007

 

 

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 2006, this survey was completed by 271,441 students from 393 institutions across the nation. This number included 260 of Earlham’s 300 first-year students (87%). The data provides interesting findings that 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, the responses of Earlham’s first-year students are compared to the responses of Earlham's peer schools. See Appendix for a list of the institutions represented in Earlham's peer group.

Women comprise 54.1% of Earlham’s first-year student sample. This year, one student (0.3%) did not provide gender information. The proportion of African-American students among Earlham respondents is 9.4% while the proportion at the national level for all institutions is 10.5% and 4.2% for the peer group. Although 85.1% of the Earlham respondents identified themselves as White/Caucasian, 26.3% were from minority categories and 7.8% indicated "other" ethnicity. This reflects students indicating more than one racial category.

In religious preference, 11% of Earlham first-year students are Quaker (versus .2% nationally), 6.7% are Jewish, 8.6% Catholic, and 2.4% Buddhist. There were 9% who responded that they are “other Christian” and 6.3% who said “other religion.” Many more Earlham students (41.2%) reported having no religious preference compared to the national sample where 19.1% had no religious preference.

Very few of the respondents from the first-year Earlham class (1.6%) live within five miles of campus; 21.2% report living six to 100 miles away. Another 31.6% live within 101 and 500 miles of the college, and 45.6% are more than 500 miles away from home. These findings confirm that Earlham continues to be a “national” institution. Nationwide, a mere 13.5% 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 79.1% of students nationally.

Eighty-nine percent of the Earlham first-year students responded to a question about their parent's income. Parental income below $25,000 was reported by 14.7% of these new students at Earlham; income of $50,000 or more by 64.8%. About half (50.6%) of Earlham's entering cohort expect family resources to cover over $10,000 of their first year’s educational expenses. This compares to 36.6% nationally and 70.7% for the peer group. Another 46.4% of the Earlham respondents expected $10,000 or more from financial aid which need not be repaid (grants, scholarships, etc.). Over half of the Earlham first-year student respondents (49.6%) have some concern about their ability to finance their college education, but feel they probably will have enough funds (47.7% for the peer group and 52.5% nationally). Among Earlham’s first-year students in 2006, 9.7% have a major concern about finances compared to 7.9% of the students entering Earlham in 2005.

The study revealed several aspects of the students' family. Among Earlham students, 25.7% reported having parents who are divorced or separated compared to 25.2% nationally and 18.3% from Earlham's peer group institutions. Earlham students tend to come from well-educated families. About half (47.6%) of the fathers of entering students hold graduate degrees (compared to 22.8% nationally and 51.7% of peer group). Almost 11% of the fathers have had a formal education of high school or less (the figure is 28.6% for the national group and 9.3% for the peer group). Of the Earlham students' mothers, 43.4% have graduates degrees (17.9% nationally and 39.4% of the peer group) and 8.6% have high school or less (26.3% nationally and 8.5% of the peer group).

A closer look at the education of students' parents reveals that 74% of these students come from families where both parents have at least a bachelor's degree and 32.7% are from families where both parents have graduate degrees. About 15.3% 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 12.7% of their fathers and 22.4% 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 2005, 12.9% of the fathers and 23.4% of the mothers worked in the education field. Only 3.6% of the Earlham students' mothers are full-time homemakers compared to 8.9% of the nationwide sample and 13.1% of the peer group sample.

A Master's degree is the eventual educational goal of 35% of these first-year Earlhamites; 28.6% plan to seek an Ed.D. or Ph.D. (versus 16.9% nationally); an additional 7.3% of these entering students expect to earn a doctorate in a medical field. This is a smaller percentage than the peer group. According to HEDS, 13.8% of students at peer institutions plan to get a medical degree.

Earlham is the first college choice for 64.7% of entering students. This is down from last year when 68% of Earlham first year students indicated Earlham was their first choice of colleges. In 2006, 64.9% of students in the peer group and 67.3% nationwide were attending their first choice college. Among Earlham’s entering students, 13.2% did not apply at any other college; 15.2% applied at seven or more other colleges. Responses from the peer group show that 26.8% of their students applied to seven or more other colleges and 13.2% applied only to the school they are attending. Nationwide, 10.9% applied to only one college and 9.3% 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 (74.2 %) of Earlham’s entering students spent six or more hours per week socializing; 29.3% spent sixteen or more hours per week. More than half of the respondents (53.3%) spent six or more hours a week studying or doing homework, and 18.6% of these students spent more than sixteen hours a week studying. These figures are much higher than the national percentages yet almost identical to the peer group. Only 32.8% of students nationally reported spending more than six hours studying, and a mere 6.4% spent over sixteen hours a week on homework. Many of the Earlham students held a job during the last year. 15.2% of the soon-to-be Earlham students spent sixteen or more hours working for pay each week while 28.7% spent six or more hours doing the same. Among Earlham students, 58.1% spent one or more hours in student organizations which is less than the peer group (70.3%) and slightly more than the national norm (57.2%).

Table 1

Political Views

Political Views

% Earlham

% Peer Group

% All Institutions

'06 Male

'06 Female

'06 Total

'05 Total

Far left

19.2
14.0
16.3
25.1
7.6
2.8

Liberal

51.2
63.3
57.6
53.4
51.4
28.4

Middle of the road

20.8
22.0
21.7
16.6
26.3
43.3

Conservative

8.0
0.7
4.0
4.9
14.0
23.9

Far right

0.8
0
0.4
0
0.8
1.7

As usual, Earlham students tend to be much more liberal than their national counterparts. The number of students reporting "far left" political views decreased from 25% in 2005 to 16.3% in 2006. The percentage of "middle of the road" responses is less than half the national figure and less than our peer group. In 2005, no Earlham students reported being "far right." However, 0.4% reported having political views that were "far right" in 2006.

Table 2

Probable Career Occupation

Occupation

Earlham

Peer Group %

All Institutions %

Male %

Female %

Total %

Accountant or actuary

0
0
0
0.5
2.6

Actor or entertainer

0
0.8
0.4
1.3
1.4

Architect or urban planner

0.9
0
0.4
0.7
0.7

Artist

0
3.8
2.0
1.3
2.1

Business executive (management)

6.1
3.1
4.5
6.5
8.4

Business owner or proprietor

3.5
0.8
2.0
1.9
3.5

Business sales representative or buyer

0
0
0
0.4
1.1

Clergy (minister, priest)

0
0.8
0.4
0.1
0.2

Clinical psychologist

0.9
6.2
3.7
1.8
1.5

College teacher

3.5
1.5

2.5

1.9
0.5

Computer programmer or analyst

2.6
0
1.2
0.6
1.7

Conservationist or forester

0.9
1.5
1.2
0.6
0.3

Dentist (including orthodontist)

0.9
0
0.4
0.8
1.2

Engineer

1.8
0
0.8
1.8
6.3

Farmer or rancher

0
0
0
0.1
0.3

Foreign service worker

6.1
2.3
4.1
3.4
0.8

Homemaker (full-time)

0
0
0
0.1
0.1

Lawyer (attorney) or judge

2.6
4.6
3.7
6.8
3.9

Musician (performer, composer)

3.5
1.5
2.5
1.5
1.5

Nurse

0
0.8
0.4
0.2
4.1
Pharmacist
0
0
0
0.5
2.1

Physician

4.4
3.8
4.1
10.7
6.1

Policymaker/Government

0.9
0
0.4
2.9
1.0

School counselor

0
0
0
0.2
0.3

Scientific researcher

4.4
2.3
3.3
4.6
1.8

Social, welfare, recreation worker

0.9
5.4
3.3
1.0
1.0

Teacher (elementary)

0.9
0.8
0.8
1.1
4.8

Teacher (secondary)

7.0
5.4
6.1
2.7
4.8

Therapist (physical, occupational, speech)

0.9
3.1
2.0
1.1
2.9

Veterinarian

1.8
3.8
2.9
1.0
1.2

Writer or journalist

4.4
3.1
3.7
5.3
2.9

Semi-skilled trades

0
0
0
0.1
0.3

Other career

7
13.1
10.2
4.5
8.5

Undecided

31.6
28.5
29.9
30.0
14.0

Early on in their academic career, it may be difficult for 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 (10.7%) expecting to be physicians compared to 4.1% of Earlham students and 6.1% of the national sample. A smaller percentage (14.0%) of the nationwide sample are undecided about their probable career compared to Earlham students (29.9%) and the students from peer institutions (30%).

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

86.6
89.3
88.0
89.3
76.8

To gain general education

81.5
78.6
79.9
81.8
64.3

To become a more cultured person

53.8
62.9
58.7
61.6
41.7

To get a better job

53.8
46.4
49.8
59.0
70.4

To prepare myself for graduate or professional school

43.7
45.7
44.8
66.3
57.7

To make more money

45.4
29.5
36.8
49.7
69.0
To get training for a specific career
37.8
33.6
35.5
36.5
69.2

Parents wanted me to go

26.1
26.4
26.3
37.6
46.4

Wanted to get away from home

21.8
22.9
22.4
20.1
21.1
Mentor/role model encouraged me
15.1
12.2
13.6
12.4
17.2
There was nothing better to do
9.2
5.0
7.0
3.9
4.1

Could not find a job

3.4
3.6
3.5
2.1
5.6

There are many reasons why a high school graduate decides to attend college. Earlham first-year students consider learning more about what interests them and gaining general education to be very important reasons in deciding to attend college. Preparing themselves for graduate or professional school was a very important reason for 44.8% of Earlham first-year students. 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 the peer group and the national sample. The national sample of students was more interested in getting trained for a specific career than Earlham students. Among Earlham's first-year students, 7% went to college because there was nothing better to do, and only 3.5% 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 %

College has a very good academic reputation

61.5
62.3
62.0
79.2
57.4

Wanted to go to a school the size of this college

55.1
61.9
58.8
58.8
38.9
A visit to campus
51.3
58.7
55.3
57.9
38.2

Offered financial assistance

47.9
51.1
49.6
37.4
34.3

Good social reputation

25.3
28.3
31.5
33.8
32.2

Graduates get good jobs

35.9
24.3
29.6
49.6
49.3

College has low tuition

22.7
29.0
26.1
16.6
32.2
Grads gain admission to top graduate schools
20.3
25.0
22.8
44.8
30.2

Admitted through early action/decision

14.3
12.3
13.2
28.0
10.9

Information from a Web site

14.3
10.2
12.1
19.5
17.0

Religious affiliation/orientation of college

5.9
15.9
11.3
2.7
7.3

High School counselor advised me

16.1
5.9
10.6
10.1
8.6

Rankings in national magazines

7.6
11.0
9.4
27.2
16.4

Not offered aid by first choice

5.0
8.1
6.7
4.7
6.5

Relatives wanted me to come

6.8
6.5
6.6
6.7
11.6

Teacher advised me

11.8
0.7
5.9
6.4
6.0

Wanted to live near home

2.5
7.3
5.1
6.3
18.3

Private college counselor advised me

3.4
1.5
2.4
5.1
2.9

 

The campus visit was very important for 55.3% of Earlham 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 (58.8%), its good academic reputation (62%), the cost of attending Earlham, and their offer of financial assistance (49.6%). Students from the peer group placed higher importance on the academic reputation, the jobs that graduates obtain, the graduate schools that grads attend, their admission through early action/decision, and the national magazine ranking of their college 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
'06

English

5

4

4

4

4

4

5

9

6

5

9

7

6

6

7

6
7
6
3

Fine Arts

5

4

4

5

2

2

5

5

2

3

1

6

5

7

7

6
4
9
4

Languages & Literatures

--

4

4

6

--

4

4

5

3

2

3

4

3

5

7

6
5
6
10

Philosophy

--

0

1

2

--

2

3

3

1

1

0

3

3

3

3

1
2
2
3

Theology/Religion

--

1

2

1

--

0

1

0

2

0

1

1

2

2

1

2
0
0
1
Other Humanities
--
--
--
--
--
--
--
--
--
--
--
--
--
--
2
0
2
1
3

Humanities Total

18

14

16

21

--

17

19

22

14

11

14

34

19

23

27

21
20
24
24

Biological Sciences

23

15

17

8

6

13

7

7

15

14

7

10

18

13

10

16
12
10
10

Engineering

2

3

5

3

5

3

2

1

1

2

3

1

1

1

1

1
0
1
1

Health Professions

2

9

1

7

8

5

2

7

4

7

7

5

2

5

4

3
6
6
4

Math/Comp. Sciences

1

0

2

1

3

1

0

1

1

1

3

4

6

4

3

3
1
1
2

Physical Sciences

5

5

6

8

2

4

2

3

3

3

3

8

2

3

4

3
3
1
2

Other Natural Sciences

1

1

1

3

2

0

1

1

1

0

1

0

2

0

0

0
0
0
2

Natural sciences total

34

33

42

30

26

27

14

21

25

27

24

28

31

26

22

26
22
19
21

Anthropology/Sociology

--

2

3

3

--

1

4

5

3

9

5

2

3

3

2

4
5
4
3

Business

2

4

3

5

5

5

3

4

3

3

5

7

2

4

4

2
3
3
6

Economics

--

1

2

2

--

0

1

1

0

0

0

0

1

1

0

1
2
2
3

Education

7

3

2

3

4

3

5

6

4

7

5

9

4

3

7

6
6
4
3

History

0

3

0

2

--

4

2

5

2

1

3

3

2

3

3

2
2
2
5

Political Science

5

7

6

9

--

11

12

7

8

6

4

3

10

8

5

6
9
8
7

Psychology

--

8

5

10

--

6

9

5

8

9

8

9

6

6

7

7
8
12
9

Other Social Sciences

15

4

2

3

--

4

5

5

2

2

3

6

5

6

6

4
3
5
4

Social Sciences Total

29

32

23

37

--

34

41

38

30

37

33

39

33

34

34
32
38
40
40

Other Fields

6

4

6

2

5

2

5

3

3

1

3

2

3

2

3

3
2
6
3

Undecided

16

18

12

11

15

17

22

14

17

18

17

11

15

14

15

17
14
11
12

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 Languages and Literature (10%), Biological Sciences (10%), Psychology (9%), Business (6%), History (6%), and Political Science (7%). Only 12% indicated that they were undecided about their probable major.


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
'06
'06
'06
Improve understanding of other countries and cultures
--
--
--
--
--
--
--
--
--
--
77
76.5
79.6
73.8
72.1
49.1

Help others in difficulty

77

66

75

80

67

75

76

72

71

66

70
71.3
75.5
71.4
70.2
66.7

Develop a meaningful philosophy of life

87

78

73

71

68

71

71

69

68

64

60
65.2
65.2
63.7
61.7
46.3

Keep up to date with political affairs

68

52

47

--

--

73

49

44

52

47

51
59.3
56.8
54.3
57.2
37.2

Raise a family

66

41

54

51

55

59

55

67

57

53

56
52.6
55.8
53.7
67.7
75.5

Help to promote racial understanding

--

--

58

69

55

73

60

56

55

49

50
55.2
58.8
48.3
42.1
34.0

Influence social values

54

40

38

49

46

67

56

48

56

50

47
54.5
54.4
47.7
45.2
42.5

Become an authority in my field

57

55

65

65

63

57

59

56

53

40

48
43.5
49.4
40.7
57.5
58.2

Be involved in programs to clean up the environment

--

35

46

46

38

63

44

37

41

38

33
36.2
37.8
38.0
23.0
22.2

Be very well off financially

23

20

30

29

28

28

34

40

33

36

35
29.4
30.0
37.6
53.7
73.4

Participate in a community action program

21

36

41

--

--

48

46

44

42

34

38
39.7
42.6
35.3
35.4
27.0

Influence political structure

34

23

19

--

--

41

30

30

35

29

32
38.7
35.4
32.2
28.5
22.7

Becoming a community leader

--

--

--

--

--

--

--

36

39

31

32
34.2
41.2
28.2
39.2
35.2

Obtain recognition from colleagues for contributions

33

27

37

--

--

39

42

41

42

30

31
35.8
42.4
27.2
47.8
53.8

Become successful in own business

20

19

32

25

23

20

19

29

20

18

16
20.3
22.9
22.5
29.7
41.9

Create artistic work

26

30

28

26

22

25

31

26

31

29

29
27.7
26.8
22.4
17.7
16.2

Write original works

29

26

25

--

--

29

31

32

27

33

29
30.6
27.2
21.3
23.3
16.2

Become accomplished in one of the performing arts

19

22

22

20

18

21

25

19

19

19

24
21.3
19.6
17.7
18.9
15.7

Have administrative responsibility for others' work

12

9

17

--

--

16

16

27

13

16

15
13.6
16.5
16.7
27.2
41.0

Make a theoretical contribution to science

10

15

14

--

--

14

17

18

17

14

16
17.7
16.4
14
20
19.7

"Improving understanding of other countries and cultures" was an essential or very important life goal for 73.8% of the first-year students at Earlham. This is a significantly higher percentage than the national sample (49.1%). "Helping others in difficulty" is also a very important objective for 71.4% of these students as it is for 66.7% of the students in the national sample and 70.2% of students in the peer group. "Developing a meaningful philosophy of life" is an essential or very important life objective for 63.7% of the Earlham students compared to 46.3% nationally. Although "raising a family" currently ranks highest among these values for the national sample, only 53.7% of the Earlham sample feel that raising a family is essential or even very important. "Influencing social values" is a goal of Earlham students which is not as important to students in the national sample but is 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. "Being very well off financially" is much more important to the national sample of students (73.4%) and the peer group sample (53.7%) than to the Earlham sample (37.6%). In accordance with last years responses, Earlham students were less concerned with "being successful at a business of their own" and "obtaining recognition from colleagues". Overall, the importance of each goal differed among Earlham students 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
91.6
93.5
92.6
89.3
74.4
80.8
77.9
National health care plan is needed
89.0
88.2
88.6
78.5
68.7
76.5
73.0

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

79.7
88.3
84.3
79.9
65.6
80.6
73.8

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

80.5
85.4
83.1
65.2
57.8
58.2
58.0
Dissent is a critical component of the political process
82.1
75.0
78.4
77.8
65.6
59.3
62.2
Only volunteers should serve in military

74.6

79.9
77.4
74.5
63.0
63.4
63.2

The death penalty should be abolished

55.5
78.3
67.7
55.8
30.7
37.6
34.5
Through hard work, everybody can succeed in American society
53.8
43.8
48.4
57.3
77.9
77.4
77.6

Abolish affirmative action in college admissions

40.4
32.6
36.2
46.9
52.7
42.4
47.1

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

30.3
23.0
26.4
19.7
31.0
23.7
27.0

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

36.9
21.8
24.2
34.6
59.1
53.3
55.9
Undocumented immigrants should be denied public education
23.1
13.9
18.1
29.9
53.0
41.6
46.7

Federal military spending should be increased

14.5
3.6
8.6
16.4
35.5
29.7
32.3

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 a liberal view with regard to government and institutions. The Earlham sample bears more similarities with the peer group sample, yet it remains clear that the Earlham students have more liberal attitudes than even their peer group. Gender differences are evident in the responses of Earlham students. Among some of the responses, females were more likely to feel that the federal government should do more to control sale of handguns, that wealthy people should pay more taxes, and that the death penalty should be abolished. In addition, Earlham females also were less likely to feel that 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

84.7
90.7
88.0
80.9
52.9
67.9
61.2

Abortion should be legal

81.4
86.3
84.0
79.6
57.3
56.3
56.8

Marijuana should be legalized

62.2
56.5
59.1
51.1
42.0
33.1
37.1

Racial discrimination is no longer a major problem in America

13.7
6.4
9.7
11.8
23.8
15.2
19.1

It is important to have laws prohibiting homosexual relationships

10.1
5.7
7.7
10.0
33.4
19.3
25.6

Although 80.9% of Earlham students agree that same sex couples should have the right to legal marital status, just 61.2% 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. Overall, Earlham respondents and the peer group share similar views toward these social issues. Historical 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 %

Discussed politics

93.9
95.5
94.7
94.9
33.8

Performed volunteer work

80.3
88.6
84.8
90.8
82.1

Studied with other students

74.4
87.0
81.2
90.9
85.5

Used the Internet for research or homework

69.8
78.1
74.3
99.3
74.2

*Socialized with a different ethnic group

70.1
65.7
67.7
69.2
66.9

Attended a religious service

64.1
67.1
65.8
69.7
76.8

Came late to class

63.5
65.2
64.4
63.1
60.6

Played a musical instrument

58.1
54.0
55.9
50.4
41.9

Drank wine or liquor

62.1
49.3
55.1
62.1
48.6

Participated in organized demonstrations

44.8
57.7
51.8
39.5
50.2

Tutored another student

50.0
50.4
50.2
62.2
52.5

Performed community service as part of a class

43.6
50.4
47.3
54.6
53.7

Drank beer

56.0
39.6
47.1
54.5
42.3

*Was bored in class

45.2
37.0
40.7
36.3
40.9

*Discussed religion

35.6
42.1
39.1
38.4
31.3

Was a guest in a teacher's home

39.3
31.9
35.3
32.4
22.9

*Asked a teacher for advice after class

30.8
30.4
30.6
34.6
26.0

*Felt overwhelmed by all they had to do

10.3
43.2
28.2
32.2
28.7

*Voted in a student election

16.4
24.6
20.9
24.9
21.5

*Felt depressed

6.0
11.5
9.0
7.4
7.3

*Smoked cigarettes

5.1
4.3
4.7
3.4
5.3
*Percentage reporting frequently only. Other percentages are responses of "frequently" or "occasionally".

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 politics, played a musical instrument, accepted an invitation to a teacher’s home, and discussed religion. Students in the national sample attended more religious services than Earlham students. The greatest difference seen between Earlham and the national sample was in the percentage of students who discussed politics. Among students from the national sample, 33.8% discussed politics frequently or occasionally compared to 94.7% at Earlham.

The greatest gender difference is seen in students who felt overwhelmed by all they had to do where 43.2% of the females felt this way during the previous year and only 21% of the males. Significant gender differences could be seen in several other areas as well. Earlham females reported more frequently that they had studied with other students, participated in organized demonstrations, voted in student elections, or felt depressed. Earlham males reported more frequently that they had been a guest in a teacher's home, drank wine or liquor, or drank beer.

In comparison with the peer group, a smaller percentage of Earlham students drank beer, wine or liquor. Earlham students were more likely to have participated in organized demonstrations. In contrast, students at peer institutions were more likely to have used the internet for research or homework or tutored another student

Table 10

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

Area

Earlham%

Peer Group %

All Institutions %

Male

Female

'06 Total

'05 Total

Academic ability

79.3
75.0
77.0
77.8
87.6
68.6

Cooperativeness

71.8
72.1
72.0
71.9
74.8
73.3

Understanding of others

64.1
71.9
68.4
70.8
70.3
66.8

Self understanding

63.8
64.3
64.1
66.9
62.9
57.3

Drive to achieve

57.8
65.0
61.7
64.4
78.3
72.6

Creativity

62.4
60.7
61.5
72.1
63.3
56.6

Self-confidence (intellectual)

65.0
48.6
56.0
61.3
65.8
59.7

Writing ability

53.8
57.6
55.9
58.0
63.4
47.7

Leadership ability

52.1
51.8
52.0
59.2
64.8
61.0

Emotional health

53.8
44.3
48.6
43.8
55.8
54.6

Physical health

57.8
36.0
45.9
49.5
60.1
55.7

Public speaking ability

40.2
38.1
39.1
42.0
46.3
37.0

Artistic ability

37.6
37.1
37.4
38.7
36.3
29.2

Mathematical ability

41.9
33.1
37.1
33.6
49.8
43.7

Self-confidence (social)

40.2
33.6
36.6
44.7
48.9
52.8

Spirituality

31.6
39.6
35.9
44.5
32.4
36.7

Computer skills

46.2
18.6
31.1
28.5
30.9
37.9

Religiousness

17.1
20.3
18.8
24.0
20.6
29.0

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 rated themselves higher than the national sample in their artistic ability, creativity, self understanding, understanding of others, writing ability, and public speaking ability.

There are significant gender differences seen among the Earlham students in many areas. Only 18.6% of the females rated their computer skills as above average compared to 46.2% of the males. Females rated their mathematical ability, physical health, emotional health, and intellectual self-confidence lower than the males. The Earlham males rated their understanding of others, drive to achieve, writing ability, spirituality, and self understanding lower than the females.

Earlham students rated their self understanding, artistic ability, and computer skills higher than students at peer institutions. However, students at peer institutions rated their drive to achieve, academic ability, intellectual self-confidence, leadership ability, physical health, social self-confidence, and mathematical ability higher than Earlham students.

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

84.0
87.1
85.7
80.0
64.8

Be satisfied with this college

63.9
66.9
65.5
67.9
53.4
Study Abroad
52.1
72.7
63.2
62.7
28.5

Make at least a "B" average

61.3

64.3

62.9
66.5
60.6

Participate in student clubs/organizations

48.7
64.7
57.4
65.6
44.5
Communicate regularly with professors
51.3
52.6
52.0
57.5
33.4

Perform volunteer or community service work

24.4
58.3
42.6
43.8
26.8

Get a job to help pay for college expenses

32.2
51.1
42.4
39.1
44.1

Change career choice

22.7
32.9
28.2
27.6
13.3

Play varsity/intercollegiate athletics

31.4
21.4
26.0
28.6
16.5

Participate in student protests or demonstrations

20.2
26.8
23.7
13.9
5.8

Change major field

15.1
24.3
20.1
23.6
13.9

Seek personal counseling

4.2
9.4
7.0
9.2
7.8
Participate in student government
5.9
5.8
5.8
8.0
7.5

Transfer to another college before graduating

3.4
2.9
3.1
2.5
7.0

Work full time while attending college

1.7
0.0
0.8
1.6
5.6

Join a social fraternity or sorority

0.9
0.7
0.8
10.0
10.1

There are remarkable differences between Earlham students and the national sample in most all of these items. For example, only 28.5% of the national sample feel there is a very good chance that they will do study abroad compared to 63.2% of the Earlham students. Additionally, Earlham students are more likely to communicate regularly with professors, socialize with someone of another racial/ethnic group, perform volunteer or community service work, participate in student protests or demonstrations, and change career choice.

The gender differences are noticeable in the areas of studying abroad, participating in student protests, participating in student clubs, performing volunteer work, getting a job to help pay for college expenses, and changing career choice or major where a greater percentage of Earlham females were more likely to participate in these activities. In contrast, more Earlham males (31.4%) are planning to participate in varsity sports than females (21.4%).

While 23.7% of first-year Earlham students expect to participate in student protests, only 13.9% of the students from peer institutions and 5.8% from the national sample 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
March, 2007