CIRP First-Year Student Survey Fall 2008
Office of Institutional Research

Prepared by Mary Ann Weaver and Max Shannon
March, 2009

 

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 2008, this survey was completed by 240,580 students from 340 institutions across the nation. This number included 283 of Earlham’s 324 first-year students (87.3%). 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 58.3% of Earlham’s first-year student respondents which is similar to our peer group (56.9%). Looking at the ethnicity of the first-year students who completed the CIRP survey, 9.3% were African-American compared to 6.2% in the peer group sample. Our peer group had a higher percentage of Asians (9.2% compared to 5.1% at Earlham). 9.7% of the Earlham respondents and 3.5% of the peer group respondents indicated they considered themselves from a race other than one of the options on the survey.

In religious preference, 12.9% of Earlham first-year respondents were Quaker (versus .2% nationally and .9% in the peer group), 5.8% were Jewish, and 3.3% reported being Muslim. Catholic affiliation among the first-year Earlham students was 6.3% compared to 16.0% at our peer institutions and 25.4% nationally. 22.5% of the Earlham respondents reported their religious preference as one of the various Christian denominations.

Only 3 of the Earlham respondents' homes are less than ten miles from Earlham; 54.7% come from hometowns over 500 miles away from Earlham. These findings confirm that Earlham continues to be a “national” institution. Nationwide, a mere 14.5% of students attend an institution more than 500 miles from their home. In compliance with Earlham’s housing policy, 96.3% of the Earlham first-year students are living in college housing. This compares to 77.4% of students nationally.

Seventy-five percent of the Earlham first-year students responded to a question about their parent's income. Parental income estimated to be below $25,000 was reported by 16% of these new students at Earlham; income of $50,000 or more by 66.6%. Students were asked to estimate how much of their first year educational expenses they expect to cover from family resources.  Based on their responses, 45.3% of the Earlham first-years expect family resources to cover over $10,000 of their college expenses compared to 64.6% of students from our peer institutions and 31.1% nationally.  Student expectations of financial aid that does not need to be repaid is greater at Earlham and our peer institutions than it is nationwide.  Half of Earlham first-year students (50.9%) and 52.8% of students from our peer institutions expect to receive over $10,000 in grants and scholarships compared to 24.1% of the students nationwide.

The study revealed several aspects of the students' family. Among Earlham students, 25.5% reported having parents who are divorced or separated compared to 18.6% from our peer group institutions. Earlham students tend to come from well-educated families. Half (50%) of the fathers of entering students hold graduate degrees compared to 23% nationally and 50.5% of the peer group. Of the Earlham students' mothers, 44.2% have graduates degrees (18.3% nationally and 40.5% of the peer group). All but 3.3% of Earlham first-year students' fathers have at least a high school diploma which is similar to the peer group (3.1%). Nationally, 9.2% of the fathers do not have a high school diploma.

There continues to be a sizeable number of students' parents with careers in education with 12.6% of their fathers and 19.5% of their mothers in the field of education. The college teacher profession is most popular for the fathers (6.7%) while the mothers are more inclined to be elementary education teachers (8.5%). 5.9% of Earlham students' mothers are college teachers compared to 2.2% of the mothers of the students from our peer institutions and .5% nationally.

A Master's degree is the eventual educational goal of 37.8% of these first-year Earlhamites; 34.9% plan to seek an Ed.D. or Ph.D. (versus 18% nationally); an additional 9.1% of these entering students expect to earn a doctorate in a medical field. This is a smaller percentage than at our peer group institutions where 13.9% plan to get a medical degree.

Earlham is the first college choice for 65.3% of entering students. This is up from last year when 60.1% of Earlham first year students indicated Earlham was their first choice of colleges. In 2008, 60.1% of students in the peer group and 60.7% nationwide were attending their first-choice college. Among Earlham’s entering students, 11.1% did not apply at any other college; 23.4% applied at seven or more other colleges. Responses from the peer group students show that 38.1% of their students applied to seven or more other colleges and 11.3% applied only to the school they are attending. Nationwide, 15.4% applied to only one college and 14.7% 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 (71.2 %) of Earlham’s entering students spent six or more hours per week socializing; 22.4% spent sixteen or more hours per week. More than half of the respondents (56.3%) spent six or more hours a week studying or doing homework, and 19.2% of these students spent more than sixteen hours a week studying. These figures are much higher than the national percentages yet lower than the peer group. Only 33.8% of students nationally reported spending more than six hours studying, and a mere 6.9% spent over sixteen hours a week on homework. 66% of the students from our peer group spent more than six hours studying; 21.2% spent over sixteen hours a week on homework. Many of the Earlham students held a job during the last year. 13.1% of the Earlham students spent sixteen or more hours working for pay each week while 31.5% spent six or more hours doing the same. Among Earlham students, 63.9% spent one or more hours in student organizations which is slightly less than the peer group (68.6%) and more than the national norm (48.6%). Table 1 shows the mean scores for the time spent on various activities in high school. Students from our peer group reported spending more time on exercise or sports and partying than the Earlham students. Earlham students spent more time reading for pleasure and doing volunteer work.

Table 1

Time spent during a typical week doing the following activities in high school

Activity
Earlham
Peer Group
Socializing with friends
5.3
5.5
Studying/homework
4.7
5.2
Exercise or sports
4.1
5.0
Online social networks (Myspace, Facebook)
3.4
3.4
Reading for pleasure
3.4
3.1
Watching TV
3.2
3.5
Working (for pay)
3.1
3.0
Student Clubs/Groups
3.1
3.3
Volunteer work
3.0
2.8
Talking with teachers outside of class
2.9
2.9
Household/childcare duties
2.8
2.7
Partying
2.6
2.9
Playing video computer games
2.4
2.2

Scale: 8=Over 20 hours; 4=3 to 5 hours; 1=None

Table 2

Political Views

Political Views

% Earlham

% Peer Group

% All Institutions

'08 Male

'08 Female

'08 Total

'07 Total

Far left

21.2
15.7
18
16.8
7.4
3.2

Liberal

48.5
65
58.2
56.0
48.3
31.0

Middle of the road

26.3
15.7
20.1
21.2
29.5
43.3

Conservative

3
3.6
3.3
5.6
13.5
20.7

Far right

1
0
0.4
0.4
1.2
1.8

As usual, Earlham students tend to be much more liberal than their national counterparts. While 18% of Earlham first-years students reported being "far left", only 7.4% of the peer group students and 3.2% of the national sample have "far left" political views. The percentage of "middle of the road" responses from Earlham students is less than half the national figure and also less than our peer group. Only one Earlham student reported having political views that were "far right", which continues the trend of the past three years.

Table 3

Probable Career Occupation

Occupation

Earlham

Peer Group %

All Institutions %

Male %

Female %

Total %

Accountant or actuary

1
0.8
0.9
.7
2.4

Actor or entertainer

1
0.8
0.9
1.1
1.4

Architect or urban planner

2.1
0.8
1.3
.8
0.8

Artist

2.1
3
2.6
1.2
2.7

Business executive (management)

5.2
2.3
3.5
7.0
7.5

Business owner or proprietor

3.1
0.8
1.7
2.3
3.3

Business sales representative or buyer

0
0
0
.4
0.9

Clergy (minister, priest)

0
0
0
.2
0.2

Clinical psychologist

1
2.3
1.7
1.3
1.4

College teacher

1
0.8
0.4
1.7
0.5

Computer programmer or analyst

2.1
0
0.9
.7
1.7

Conservationist or forester

0
3.0
1.7
.5
0.3

Dentist (including orthodontist)

0
0
0
.7
1.2

Engineer

3.1
0
1.3
2.2
7.4

Farmer or rancher

0
1.5
0.9
.2
0.2

Foreign service worker

3.1
5.3
4.4
3.4
0.8

Homemaker (full-time)

0
0
0
.1
0.1

Lawyer (attorney) or judge

4.1
2.3
3.1
6.8
3.4

Musician (performer, composer)

0
0
0
.8
1.7

Nurse

0
0
0
.4
4.5
Pharmacist
2.1
0.8
1.3
.9
2.0

Physician

8.2
2.3
4.8
9.9
6.3

Policymaker/Government

4.1
0
1.7
2.8
0.9

School counselor

0
0
0
.2
0.3

Scientific researcher

5.2
4.5
4.8
4.2
2.0

Social, welfare, recreation worker

1
3.8
2.6
1.0
1.1

Teacher (elementary)

1
0
0.4
1.0
4.1

Teacher (secondary)

8.2
6.8
4.8
2.7
4.2

Therapist (physical, occupational, speech)

2.1
3.8
3.1
1.4
2.9

Veterinarian

0
3
1.7
1.3
1.2

Writer or journalist

2.1
6.8
4.8
4.8
2.8

Semi-skilled trades

0
0
0
.2
0.2

Other career

10.3
12.9
11.8
5.3
8.7

Undecided

20.6
29.5
25.8
28.7
14.1

Early on in their academic studies, it may be difficult for first-year students to consider what careers they expect to pursue. However, Earlham students seem to be leaning more toward some of the “helping” professions such as 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 4.7% of Earlham students and 6.3% of the national sample. A smaller percentage (14.1%) of the nationwide sample are undecided about their probable career compared to Earlham students (25.8%) and the students from peer institutions (28.7%).

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

54.9
63.6
60
80.4
64.7
A visit to campus
48
64.3
57.5
60.3
41.4

Offered financial assistance

59
55.2
56.8
48.1
43

Wanted to go to a school the size of this college

48
62.9
56.7
60.1
38.5

Graduates get good jobs

30.3
41.7
37
53.9
54.2

Good social reputation

28.4
35.7
32.7
40.9
38.4

Cost of attending this college

26.7
36.4
32.4
26.7
39.9
Grads gain admission to top graduate schools
28
34
31.5
47.4
35.1

Information from a Web site

13.3
18.6
16.4
21.1
18.9

Religious affiliation/orientation of college

8.8
20.1
15.4
3.1
7.5

Admitted through early action/decision

10.9
17.7
14.9
25.7
11.8

High School counselor advised me

12.9
9.9
11.2
12.6
10.2

Rankings in national magazines

8
10
9.2
25.7
17.6
Could not afford first choice college
11.0
7.3
9.2
8.1
11.2

Not offered aid by first choice

7.1
7.9
7.6
8.0
8.5

Teacher advised me

8.9
5.6
7
6.9
6.9
Parents wanted me to come

6.9

5.6
6.1
10.8
14.7

Private college counselor advised me

4
7.1
5.8
7.0
3.6

Wanted to live near home

1
6.4
4.1
8.3
20.1

Relatives wanted me to come

3.9
2.8
3.3
3.1
5.8

Earlham’s good academic reputation was very important for 60% of the Earlham students in making their decision to come to Earlham.  Campus visits also continue to be an important influence in Earlham students' college choice as well as the offer of financial assistance. Students from the peer group were influenced more by the academic reputation of their school, the jobs that graduates obtain, and the graduate schools that grads attend.  Admissions early action or decision policies were also more influential for the peer group students as well as the national magazine ranking of their college choice.

Table 5

Probable Major Field of Study (Percentage of Students)

Probable Major

'08
'07
'06
'05
'04
'03
'02
'01

'00

'98

'96

'94

'92

'90

'88

'86

'84

'82

'80

'78

'76

English

3
5
3
6
7
6

7

6

6

7

9

5

6

9

5

4

4

4

4

4

5

Fine Arts

6
2
4
9
4
6

7

7

5

6

1

3

2

5

5

2

2

5

4

4

5

Languages & Literatures

4
11
10
6
5
6
7

5

3

4

3

2

3

5

4

4

--

6

4

4

--

Philosophy

1
2
3
2
2
1

3

3

3

3

0

1

1

3

3

2

--

2

1

0

--

Theology/Religion

1
1
1
0
0
2

1

2

2

1

1

0

2

0

1

0

--

1

2

1

--

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

Humanities Total

16
22
24
24
20
21

27

23

19

34

14

11

14

22

19

17

--

21

16

14

18

Biological Sciences

16
9
10
10
12
16

10

13

18

10

7

14

15

7

7

13

6

8

17

15

23

Engineering

1
3
1
1
0
1

1

1

1

1

3

2

1

1

2

3

5

3

5

3

2

Health Professions

0.5
4
4
6
6
3

4

5

2

5

7

7

4

7

2

5

8

7

1

9

2

Math/Comp. Sciences

1
2
2
1
1
3

3

4

6

4

3

1

1

1

0

1

3

1

2

0

1

Physical Sciences

6
4
2
1
3
3

4

3

2

8

3

3

3

3

2

4

2

8

6

5

5

Other Natural Sciences

1
1
2
0
0
0

0

0

2

0

1

0

1

1

1

0

2

3

1

1

1

Natural sciences Total

25
23
21
19
22
26

22

26

31

28

24

27

25

21

14

27

26

30

42

33

34

Anthropology/Sociology

3
5
3
4
5
4

2

3

3

2

5

9

3

5

4

1

--

3

3

2

--

Business

5
6
6
3
3
2

4

4

2

7

5

3

3

4

3

5

5

5

3

4

2

Economics

3
2
3
2
2
1

0

1

1

0

0

0

0

1

1

0

--

2

2

1

--

Education

4
2
3
4
6
6

7

3

4

9

5

7

4

6

5

3

4

3

2

3

7

History

4
2
5
2
2
2

3

3

2

3

3

1

2

5

2

4

--

2

0

3

0

Political Science

9
8
7
8
9
6

5

8

10

3

4

6

8

7

12

11

--

9

6

7

5

Psychology

7
5
9
12
8
7

7

6

6

9

8

9

8

5

9

6

--

10

5

8

--

Other Social Sciences

3
2
4
5
3
4

6

6

5

6

3

2

2

5

5

4

--

3

2

4

15

Social Sciences Total

38
32
40
40
38
32
34

34

33

39

33

37

30

38

41

34

--

37

23

32

29

Other Fields

2
2
3
6
2
3

3

2

3

2

3

1

3

3

5

2

5

2

6

4

6

Undecided

9
13
12
11
14
17

15

14

15

11

17

18

17

14

22

17

15

11

12

18

16

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 Biological Sciences (16%), Political Science (9%) and Psychology (7%). . Only 9% indicated that they were undecided about their probable major.


Table 6

Objectives Considered to be Essential or Very Important

 

Peer Group %'s

National Norm %'s

Earlham %’s

Objective

'08
'08
'08
'07
'06
'05

'04

'03

'02

'01

'98

'94

'90

'86

'82

'78

'74

'69

Improve understanding of other countries and cultures
72.4
52.8
80.2
77.1
73.8
79.6
76.5
77
--
--
--
--
--
--
--
--
--
--

Help others in difficulty

72.5
69.7
77
80.2
71.4
75.5
71.3
70

66

71

72

76

75

67

80

75

66

77

Develop a meaningful philosophy of life

63.6
51.4
66.9
64.7
63.7
65.2
65.2
60

64

68

69

71

71

68

71

73

78

87

Keep up to date with political affairs

58.5
39.5
59.1
56.5
54.3
56.8
59.3
51

47

52

44

49

73

--

--

47

52

68

Help to promote racial understanding

43.3
37.3
56
53.6
48.3
58.8
55.2
50

49

55

56

60

73

55

69

58

--

--

Influence social values

46.5
44.7
55.4
53.7
47.7
54.4
54.5
47

50

56

48

56

67

46

49

38

40

54

Raise a family

68.9
75.5
53.5
61.1
53.7
55.8
52.6
56

53

57

67

55

59

55

51

54

41

66

Become an authority in my field

57.0
60.2
53.3
49.2
40.7
49.4
43.5
48

40

53

56

59

57

63

65

65

55

57

Obtain recognition from colleagues for contributions

51.7
57.6
47.5
43.5
27.2
42.4
35.8
31

30

42

41

42

39

--

--

37

27

33

Be very well off financially

58.6
76.8
44.3
40.7
37.6
30.0
29.4
35

36

33

40

34

28

28

29

30

20

23

Participate in a community action program

37.6
30.3
43
39.9
35.3
42.6
39.7
38

34

42

44

46

48

--

--

41

36

21

Becoming a community leader

42.3
36.2
39.8
33.1
28.2
41.2
34.2
32

31

39

36

--

--

--

--

--

--

--

Be involved in programs to clean up the environment

38.7
29.5
39.4
47.0
38.0
37.8
36.2
33

38

41

37

44

63

38

46

46

35

--

Influence political structure

27.8
22.3
36.4
33.8
32.2
35.4
38.7
32

29

35

30

30

41

--

--

19

23

34

Write original works

22.2
16.6
26.9
30.1
21.3
27.2
30.6
29

33

27

32

31

29

--

--

25

26

29

Create artistic work

17.4
16.9
25.9
26.1
22.4
26.8
27.7
29

29

31

26

31

25

22

26

28

30

26

Become successful in own business

32.5
43.4
24.3
23.9
22.5
22.9
20.3
16

18

20

29

19

20

23

25

32

19

20

Make a theoretical contribution to science

20.4
21.3
21.1
22.0
14
16.4
17.7
16

14

17

18

17

14

--

--

14

15

10

Become accomplished in one of the performing arts

17.8
16.6
18.9
19.7
17.7
19.6
21.3
24

19

19

19

25

21

18

20

22

22

19


"Improving understanding of other countries and cultures" was an essential or very important life goal for 80.2% of the first-year students at Earlham. This is a significantly higher percentage than the national sample (52.8%). "Helping others in difficulty" is also a very important objective for 77% of these students as it is for 69.7% of the students in the national sample and 72.5% of students in the peer group. "Developing a meaningful philosophy of life" is an essential or very important life objective for 66.9% of the Earlham students compared to 51.4% nationally. Although "raising a family" and "being very well off financially" currently rank highest among these values for the national sample, only 53.5% of the Earlham sample feel that raising a family is essential or even very important and and 44.3% indicate being very well off financially is important to them. "Influencing social values" is a goal of Earlham students which is not as important to students from other schools. "Helping to promote racial understanding" has always been considered of greater importance to Earlham students compared to the national average. 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 and the national sample, once again confirming the distinctiveness of the Earlham population. More 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
84.2
94.3
90.1
87.3
75.6
81.9
79
National health care plan is needed
87.1
90.7
89.2
75.1
65.2
74.4
70.3

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

73.5
88.7
82.4
77.9
63.7
79.3
72.2
Only volunteers should serve in military
79.2
82.7
81.3
75.1
65.6
67.5
66.6

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

78.2
82.9
80.9
65.3
59.5
61.2
60.4
Dissent is a critical component of the political process
77.4
78
77.7
80.1
66
58.8
62.2

The death penalty should be abolished

72.5
77.3
75.3
55.5
31.2
38
34.9
Through hard work, everybody can succeed in American society
58
50.4
53.6
64.3
79.6
77.9
78.6

Abolish affirmative action in college admissions

43.5
41.1
42.1
49.5
53.3
42.7
47.6

Colleges have the right to ban extreme speakers from campus

36.7
29
32.2
36.2
43.9
37.6
40.5

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

31.4
25.2
27.8
38.5
60.3
55
57.4

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

22
16.3
18.7
19.8
31.3
24
27.3
Undocumented immigrants should be denied public education
22.2
15.7
18.4
32.4
52.6
42.7
47.2

Federal military spending should be increased

13
8.6
10.4
17.0
32.2
24.4
28

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. Females were more likely to feel that the federal government should do more to control sale of handguns and control environmental pollution, and 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 an individual can do little to bring change in society, that undocumented immigrants should be denied public education, and that through hard work everybody can succeed in American 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

80.6
87.9
84.8
81.8
58.8
72.4
66.6

Abortion should be legal

81.2
82.4
81.9
78.8
59.1
57.6
58.2

Marijuana should be legalized

58.4
55
56.4
55.1
46.7
36.8
41.3

Racial discrimination is no longer a major problem in America

16.5
12
13.9
15.0
25.1
16
20.1

It is important to have laws prohibiting homosexual relationships

10.9
7.8
9.1
11.0
30.1
17.9
23.4

Although 84.8% of Earlham students agree that same sex couples should have the right to legal marital status, just 66.6% 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 are much stronger than the national group. In issues regarding homosexual relationships, there are only small 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 "Frequently" or "Occasionally"

Activity

Earlham

Peer Group %

All Institutions %

Male %

Female %

Total %

Performed volunteer work

90.3
91.7
91.1
91.6
84.4

Studied with other students

81.6
89.6
86.2
92.4
87.7

*Used the Internet for research or homework

69.9
83.2
77.6
84.3
76

*Socialized with a different ethnic group

82.5
72
76.4
70.9
69.8

Attended a religious service

67
76.8
72.2
69.9
75.8

Came late to class

72.3
57
63.4
61.3
60.5

Performed community service as part of a class

63.1
53.8
57.7
60.5
58.4

*Discussed politics

60.2
55.6
57.6
51.7
35.6

Tutored another student

59.2
54.2
56.3
63.1
56.4

Played a musical instrument

54.4
56.4
55.6
49.9
44.5

Drank wine or liquor

51.5
45
47.7
59.2
43.9

*Discussed religion

48.5
45.1
46.9
38.6
31.8

Participated in political demonstrations

43.7
43.7
43.7
32.9
25.7

Drank beer

45.6
36.6
40.4
53.5
38

Was a guest in a teacher's home

41.2
37.3
38.9
32.0
21.5

*Asked a teacher for advice after class

31.1
39.6
36
36.6
28

*Was bored in class

36.9
33.8
35.1
33.9
39.5

*Felt overwhelmed by all they had to do

18.6
40.1
31.1
30.9
28.2

*Voted in a student election

23.5
27.3
25.7
27.1
22.6

*Felt depressed

4
10.6
7.8
6.8
6.9

*Smoked cigarettes

10.7
2.8
6.1
2.9
4.4
*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 were more likely to be bored in class. The greatest difference seen between Earlham and the national sample was in the percentage of students who participated in political demonstrations or discussed politics. Among students from the national sample, 25.7% participated in political demonstrations frequently or occasionally compared to 43.7% at Earlham. And 57.6% of the Earlham students often discussed politics during high school compared to 35.6% of the national sample.

The greatest gender difference among Earlham students is seen in students who felt overwhelmed by all they had to do where 40.1% of the females felt this way during the previous year and only 18.6% of the males felt the same way. Females were much more likely than males to have used the internet for research or homework. Males were less likely to have studied with other students, attended a religious service or consulted with a teacher outside of class. Males were more likely to socialize with a different ethnic group, perform community service as part of a class or come late to class.

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 political demonstrations. In contrast, students at peer institutions were more likely to have used the internet for research, studied with other students and tutored other students.

Table 10

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

Area

Earlham%

Peer Group %

All Institutions %

Male

Female

'08 Total

'07 Total

Academic ability

70.9
77.5
74.7
72.7
86.8
69.5

Cooperativeness

71.3
70.6
70.9
70.4
75.1
73.7

Creativity

68
70.4
69.4
60.9
60.9
56.8

Understanding of others

68
67.8
67.9
62.0
70.0
67.2

Self understanding

64.4
64.8
64.6
57.6
64.0
58.5

Self-confidence (intellectual)

67
56.6
61
62.8
67.2
60.7

Drive to achieve

60.2
61.3
60.8
59.6
80.8
75.2

Writing ability

51.5
55.2
53.7
53.3
61.3
47.5

Leadership ability

56.3
49
52
50.8
65.7
61.8

Self-confidence (social)

52.4
40.6
45.5
38.8
48.8
52.5

Physical health

50
37
42.4
49.2
59.7
55.8

Artistic ability

33.3
48.3
42
33.1
35.1
30.6

Emotional health

44.7
38.5
41.1
41.2
57.3
54.5

Public speaking ability

45.6
32.9
38.2
36.8
45.8
37.7

Mathematical ability

42.7
34.3
37.8
32.8
48.6
44.9

Spirituality

29.4
42.9
37.2
29.5
35.0
39.9

Computer skills

36.9
17.5
25.6
29.5
29.9
38.4

The Earlham sample rated themselves higher than the national sample in their academic ability, artistic ability, creativity, self understanding, and writing ability. Students from the national sample rated themselves much higher in their drive to achieve and physical and emotional health. Computer skills and mathematical skills were also rated higher by the national sample.

Earlham students rated their creativity, self understanding, artistic ability, and spirituality higher than students at peer institutions. However, students from the peer institutions gave themselves higher ratings in all other areas.

Compared to the Earlham entering class in 2007, the students from the entering 2008 class rated themselves higher in artistic and mathematical abilities as well as understanding of others and self understanding. Self ratings of physical health are lower.

There are significant gender differences seen among the Earlham students in many areas. Only 17.5% of the females rated their computer skills as above average compared to 36.9% of the males. Females rated their mathematical ability, physical health, emotional health, and self-confidence lower than the males. The Earlham males rated their academic ability, writing ability, artistic ability and spirituality lower than the females.


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

81.8
85.2
83.3
79.1
65.4
Study Abroad
48
73.8
63.2
61.9
29.6

Make at least a "B" average

57.6
67.8
63.6
69.1
62.3

Be satisfied with this college

52
70.4
62.8
68.5
55.3

Participate in student clubs/organizations

49
64.8
58.3
64.3
45.6
Communicate regularly with professors
53
61.5
58
61.3
36.4

Get a job to help pay for college expenses

44
52.4
49
43.9
49.4

Perform volunteer or community service work

36
57.7
48.8
44.5
28.3

Play varsity/intercollegiate athletics

33.3
19.1
25
30.8
16.9

Change career choice

19
32.9
27.2
29.4
13.1

Participate in student protests or demonstrations

16
27.5
22.7
12.7
6.3

Change major field

12
21.7
17.7
24.0
13.4

Seek personal counseling

15.2
9.2
11.6
9.8
9.2
Participate in student government
5.1
4.2
4.6
8.7
7.1

Transfer to another college before graduating

1
2.1
1.7
3.2
7.6

Work full time while attending college

3
6.3
4.9
2.6
7.6

Join a social fraternity or sorority

3.1
1.4
2.1
13.0
10.4

There are remarkable differences between Earlham students and the national sample when looking at the students' expectations at college. For example, only 29.6% 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 much more likely to expect to communicate regularly with professors and to perform volunteer work. Earlham students also expect to socialize with someone of another ethnicity more so than students from the national sample.

Comparing Earlham students to students from our peer institutions, one of the greatest differences is the percentage who expect to participate in student protests or demonstrations where 22.7% of Earlham first-years expect to do so compared with 12.7% of the peer group students. The students from our peer institutions are more likely to expect to make a "B" average, to be satisfied with their college choice and to participate in student clubs or organizations.

The gender differences are most noticeable in the areas of students' expectations of studying abroad and performing volunteer work. Females are much more likely to expect to be participating in these activities. They are also much more likely to be satisfied with Earlham. In contrast, more Earlham males (33.3%) are planning to participate in varsity sports than females (19.1%).

While 22.7% of first-year Earlham students expect to participate in student protests, only 12.7% of the students from peer institutions and 6.3% from the national sample anticipated the same. Students from our peer institutions were more likely to expect to change their major while in college and to participate in student organizations.

The percentage of first-year students who expect to get a job to help pay for college expenses is similar among Earlham students, the peer group and the national sample. 11.6% of Earlham first-year students indicate that there is a very good chance they will seek personal counseling, and Earlham first-year men are more likely than women to feel the need for counseling.

 

APPENDIX

Peer Group
Bates College
Beloit
Carleton College
Centre College
College of Wooster
Colorado College
Guilford College
Haverford College
Lake Forest
Macalester College
Occidental College
Rhodes College
Scripps College
Trinity College
University of the South
Washington & Lee
Whitman College
 

Created by Mary Ann Weaver
weavema@earlham.edu
March , 2009