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Academic Exchange December
1999/January 2000 Contents Page
Ninety-seven percent of the
Emory College Class of 1999 felt that faculty provided them with
intellectual challenge and stimulation throughout their undergraduate
years, according to a recent survey. Ninety-three percent also
said they had opportunities for conversation with their professors
outside the classroom. But while most students reported strong
faculty support in academics, 33 percent reported having not
received emotional support and encouragement from their
The survey polled 992 of 1,136 graduating seniors and was conducted
last spring by the Office of Institutional Planning and Research
in conjunction the Higher Education Data Sharing Consortium.
Below are some additional highlights.
orientation. Thirty-seven percent
of last year's Emory College seniors studied abroad during their
undergraduate career, mostly in European countries. More than
half of the respondents took at least one course with emphasis
on the cultures of the Arab world, sub-Saharan Africa, Asia,
or Latin America and the Caribbean. One-third took courses with
emphasis on African-American life, institutions, and culture.
And approximately half of the seniors had at least one course
with emphasis on the study of women, women's issues, or feminism.
Ninety-five percent report having studied and socialized at least
occasionally with persons from a different racial or ethnic group.
And almost two-thirds attended events sponsored by cultural organizations
representing a different racial or ethnic group.
in university life. By far, the
activity that involved most seniors was volunteering: approximately
three-quarters of the respondents participated in some type of
volunteer services. Forty-five percent had an off-campus internship.
Forty-four percent participated in an honor society, and forty-three
percent were members of a social fraternity or sorority.
goals. The most important goals
to the seniors, in order of importance, are "raising a family"
(75 percent), "being very well-off financially" (46
percent), "making a significant scholarly or intellectual
contribution to one's field" (42 percent), and "working
to build a community" (38 percent). "Influencing the
political structure" is important only for 19 percent of
Plans. When asked about their principal
activity the next fall, half of the surveyed seniors chose "employment,"
and 38 percent reported they would continue their education at
a graduate or professional school. Since students completed the
survey early in the year, their employment plans were relatively
undefined at that time. This is reflected in the following findings:
seventy percent of those who intended to work upon graduation
were searching for a position; 15 percent planned to start their
search after graduation; 10 percent already were offered and
accepted a position; and 4 percent already were offered and refused
Of the 992 respondents, 399 (40 percent) applied for admission
to graduate studies for the next academic year. The most popular
degree programs students applied for were medical and law degrees.
A relatively low proportion of seniors indicated a desire to
start a Ph.D. program. The most popular fields, besides law and
medicine, appear to be the biological sciences, psychology, and
When asked about the highest degree they hope to obtain regardless
of their fall plans, only 18 respondents (2 percent) do not want
to pursue advanced degrees. Eleven percent of senior respondents
plan to pursue more than one advanced degree at some point in
their career. Half of the respondents expect to obtain their
highest degrees in law, medicine, or business.
In choosing a career, the majority of Emory students consider
the following criteria to be essential: interest in work (50
percent), stable and secure future (46 percent), intellectual
challenge (45 percent), and opportunities to be creative and
exercise initiative (41 percent). Between freshman and senior
years, the proportion of those planning a career in medicine
dropped from 34 percent to 19 percent. On the other hand, by
the senior year, more students want to pursue other professional
fields, such as business and law. D.T.