Emory students measure
up in annual UCLA survey
of college freshmen nationwide
Results are in for the annual UCLA national survey of college freshmen,
and Emory's incoming students weighed in last fall along with 1.6 million
others across the country.
Bucking what seems a national trend, Emory freshmen still consider keeping
up with politics and current affairs an "essential" or "very
important" life goal. Fifty-two percent of Emory students gave those
responses as opposed to 27 percent nationwide and 44 percent in the University's
peer cohort of highly selective private universities-a group including Duke,
Georgetown and Vanderbilt, among others. Twenty-five percent of Emory freshmen
said they frequently discussed politics, compared to just 14 percent nationally.
"Politics shape everything that goes on in our lives, from local
to national to worldwide events," said freshman Beth Parr, a political
science major from Gadsden, Ala., who said about half her friends keep up
with current events. "People have different reasons for their attitudes,
whether it be religious background, where they're from or their socioeconomic
status. It's helpful to hear other people's reasoning. It helps shape my
61 percent of Emory students traveled more than 500 miles to attend the
University; 45 percent of students in the peer group made similar treks.
UCLA's survey, sponsored by the American Council on Education, has measured
college freshman attitudes since 1966. Buried in the pages of statistics
are students' opinions on everything from whether an individual is powerless
against society (24 percent of Emory freshmen agree) to how many think they
will change majors (21 percent).
"Emory College has participated in the survey since its inception
in 1966, and these results form our most continuous and complete longitudinal
data on the attitudes and circumstances first-year students bring to Emory,"
said Susan Frost, vice provost for Institutional Planning and Research.
"The changes over time are fascinating, as are comparisons with first-year
students at other universities."
Demographically, Emory continues to be more diverse. The percentage of
white freshmen has decreased from 84 percent in 1987 to 72 percent in 1997.
And while African American enrollment has remained a fairly constant 7 or
8 percent over that decade, the percentage of Asian American students has
more than doubled, from 7 percent in 1987 to 19 percent in 1997.
Each participating university was allowed 10 school-specific questions
in the survey. Through its questions, Emory found that 57 percent of freshmen
chose the University for its academic reputation, while another 28 percent
felt they would "fit" here. Seventy-five percent said they did
not-but would liked to have-"extensively toured the campus" before
making their college choice.
Some of the more interesting trivia in the survey reveals:
- 37 percent of Emory freshmen said they had overslept and missed a class
or appointment within the last year;
- 83 percent said they socialized with members of a different ethnic
- 72 percent rated themselves above average or in the top 10th of their
peers in "self-understanding," and 76 percent rated themselves
similarly in understanding others;
- 25 percent reported spending six to 10 hours per week studying;
- 20 percent reported spending six to 10 hours per week partying;
- 48 percent said they planned to be a physician, lawyer or business
- 2 percent planned to be an elementary or secondary school teacher.
to February 9, 1998 contents page