Summary of the Fall 1994 ACE Freshperson Survey
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Summary of the Fall 1994 ACE Freshperson Survey

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47%), in support of legalizing marijuana (65% vs. 39%), and de-emphasize college sports (37% vs. 28%). UCSC students favored consumer protection (74% vs.

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Summary of the Fall 1994 ACE Freshperson SurveyABSTRACTThe fall of 1994 marked the 29th annual report of national normative data on thecharacteristics of students attending colleges and universities as first-time, full-time freshpersons.The nationwide survey is a project of the Cooperative Institutional Research Program (CIRP), acontinuing longitudinal study of the American higher education system sponsored by theAmerican Council on Education (ACE a)nd the Graduate School of Education and InformationStudies at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Over 237,777 freshpersons at 461colleges and universities nationwide who participated in the ACE survey represent the nationalnorms. The national norms cited in this report are based upon a group of highly selective four-year universities and colleges. Selectivity is determined on the basis of freshperson class averageSAT scores; four-year colleges with an average of 1100 or higher on the SAT are placed in thehighly selective group.The main objective of the CIRP is to assess the effects of college on students. The data ishope to provide a normative profile of freshpersons for individuals engaged in policy studies andanalysis, human resource planning, campus facilities administration, educational research, andstudent guidance and counseling.This report describes the results for UCSC's 1994 fall freshpersons and compares themwith students entering other selective institutions. The results are based upon 1,124 students,63% of the entering class. The survey identified differences in several areas, includingdemographics, high school accomplishments and activities, academic goals, reasons for attendingcollege, intended major, life and career goals, and political and social attitudes.This report was prepared by Ophelia Zalamea. Additional copies may be requested from the Institutional Research groupof the Office of Planning and Budget, University of California, Santa Cruz, California 95064 (408-459-2446).
2DemographicsSurvey respondents at UC Santa Cruz were more ethnically diverse than respondentsnationwide. About 63% of Santa Cruz respondents identified themselves as Caucasian comparedwith 73% nationally1. Each year UC Santa Cruz attracts a greater percent of students fromdiverse ethnic backgrounds, however Santa Cruz's lead in diversity over peer institutions hasremained constant at about 10% for the last ten year s .Compared with their peers, fewer SantaCruz students are African American/Black than students nationwide (3% vs. 7%), but more SantaCruz students identified their ethnic background as American Indian (4% vs. 1%), Chicano (13%vs. 3%), Latino (5% vs. 2%), Asian (17% vs. 15%) or Other (7% vs. 3%). Less than one percentof Santa Cruz respondents were Puerto Rican-American compared with about one percentnationwide. About 14% of UC Santa Cruz respondents checked more than one ethnic category.More Santa Cruz students learned English as a second language than students nationally (20% vs.13%). The entering class of 1994 at UC Santa Cruz has more female than male students (65% vs.35%), and also survey respondents were 65% women and 35% men. Questioned about theirreligious preference, nineteen percent (19%) of Santa Cruz students reported Protestant affiliationcompared to twenty-eight (28%) percent of students nationwide, 19% were Roman Catholicscompared to 31% nationally, fewer were Jewish (6% vs. 9% ) and more had other affiliations(12% vs. 13%) or no religious affiliation (44% vs. 19%) than students nationally. Becausepercentage of men and women and the ethnic composition of UC Santa Cruz students surveyeddiffered slightly from the profile of new freshmen for fall of 1994, (Caucasian and Asian studentscomprise only 57% and 12% of UC Santa Cruz's entering class) the results of the survey maydiffer somewhat from true characteristics of the Santa Cruz freshmen and should be interpretedwith caution. A graphical view of the said different characteristics are presented in Table 1 below.Table 1Demographics of UCSC and National FreshpersonsFall 1994Sex and Religious PreferenceSexReligious PreferenceMaleFemaleProtestantRomanJewishOtherNoAffiliationCatholicAffiliationAffiliationUCSC35%65%19%19%6%12%44%National47%53%28%31%9%13%19%EthnicityEthnicityAfrican-AsianAmericanChicanoLatinoEuroAmericanIndianAmericanUCSC3%17%4%13%5%63%National7%15%1%3%2%73%                                               1Percentages are based on students who answered the survey--not on all new freshpersons.Fall 1994 ACE Results
3Although families of Santa Cruz students were similar to the national group insocioeconomic status, the differences are interesting. The median family income reported byUCSC students was $54,230 -- $10,289 less than their peers nationally. Figure 1 shows the trendof median family income for UCSC and national respondents. Thirty-one percent of UC SantaCruz respondents reported their parents were separated or divorced as compared with 21% ofpeers. Approximately 60% of Santa Cruz student's fathers have a bachelors degree or highercompared to 65% of peer fathers. More fathers of UC Santa Cruz students have graduatedegrees than nationally (34% vs. 32%). Father's careers differed from national trends in that 9%fewer fathers of Santa Cruz students were employed in business than fathers nationally (23% vs.32%). Small differences in other careers compensated for the difference, for instance 3% of SantaCruz fathers are Artists/Performers compared to about 1% of the peer group, 9% are teachers oreducational administrators compared with 7% of their peers. Fifty-four percent of mothers ofSanta Cruz students have a college degree or higher compared with 55% nationally. Moremothers of UC Santa Cruz students have graduate degrees than mothers of national peers (23%vs. 20%). Careers of mothers are similar to their peers nationally, but fewer mothers (25% vs.27%) of Santa Cruz students work in traditionally female occupations such as elementary schoolteaching, clerical, or nursing, and fewer (17% vs. 19%) are full-time homemakers or unemployed.A greater percentage of mother of Santa Cruz students are employed in non-traditional careerssuch as Artists/Performers (5% vs. 2%) and in non-clerical business positions, percentage ofmother of Santa Cruz students is comparable to their peers (14%).Figure 11985 to 1994 UCSC and National Freshpersons Family Income000070000600005000040000300002000010589119861987198819891990199119921994Fall 1994 ACE ResultsNationalCSCU
4High School Activities and Academic PreparationSanta Cruz student's high school activities were similar to their national peer group'sactivities. Examples include studying with other students (90% vs. 90%), socializing with friends(80% vs. 80%), doing volunteer work six hours or more a week (80% vs. 78%),and being activein student clubs six hours or more per week (16% vs. 16%). However, Santa Cruz students areless likely to have attended a religious service during the last year (65% vs. 81%), worked sixhours or more per week (45% vs. 53%), and more likely to have discussed politics (30% vs.22%), visited art gallery or museum (81% vs. 69%) and participated in demonstrations (46% vs.34%) during the last year than their national peers. Of interest is the 13% decrease in thenumbers of UCSC students discussing politics, down from 47% in 1992 while a 7% increase inUCSC students doing volunteer works, up from 73% in 1992.Academically, fewer UCSC students had a high school grade average of "A-" or bettercompared with students nationally (38% vs. 56%), although over 93% of students at Santa Cruzreported a high school grade average of "B" or higher. UCSC students rated themselves aboutthe same or a little below their peers in academic ability (75% above average vs. 83%), publicspeaking (33% vs. 37%), and intellectual self-confidence (57% vs. 64%). More UCSC studentsrated themselves highly in writing ability (52% vs. 50%), but lagged behind their peers in self-ratings of math ability; only 41% rated themselves above average compared to 52% of thenational group. Ten percent of Santa Cruz students said they would need extra time to earn adegree compared to 8% of students nationwide. Table 2 shows that UCSC students were similarto their national peers in college preparatory courses taken. Figure 2 also indicates fewer UCSCstudents had two years of courses in Physical Sciences (62% vs. 66%) or one semester ofComputer Science (45% vs. 51%). More UCSC students had taken at least a year of Art andMusic courses than their peers (85% vs. 73%), consistent with the slightly higher self-ratings ofUCSC students in artistic abilities (38% vs. 30% rated themselves above average). UCSCstudents reported greater artistic involvement, 52% played a musical instrument vs. 43% of peers.Table 2Academic Preparation of UCSC and National FreshpersonsFall 1985 and Fall 1994Academic PreparationUCSCNational1994198519941985English (4years)99989995Mathematics (3years)99959997Foreign Language (2years)99979788Physical Science (2years)62636669Biological Science (2years)44394437History/American Gov’t (1year)99999999Computer Science (1/2year)45555165Arts and/or Music (1year)85597359Fall 1994 ACE Results
5Self-Ratings of Personal CharacteristicsStudents rated themselves on academic ability and other attributes such as health andsocial self confidence. Large differences were apparent in ratings of competitiveness, popularity,math ability, drive to achieve, leadership, emotional and physical health, as shown in Figure 2.Concerning their physical health, more Santa Cruz students reported they smoked cigarettes (11%vs. 8%), and fewer reported they spent six or more hours a week exercising or playing sports(43% vs. 50%) than their peers. Regarding their emotional health, over a third of our campus'freshpersons reported they had felt overwhelmed within the last year; 37% vs. 27% for studentsnationwide. Fifteen percent reported feeling depressed within the last year compared with 9% oftheir peers nationally. Comparatively fewer UCSC students rated themselves above average inpopularity (29% vs. 41%), drive to achieve (67% vs. 76%) and competitiveness (38% vs. 61 %)than the national peer group, although ratings on social self-confidence (44% vs. 49%); andcooperativeness were about the same (72% vs. 74%). More UCSC students rated themselvesabove average in leadership (59% vs. 49%), artistic ability (37% vs. 30%), creativity (62% vs.55%), understanding of others (80% vs. 73%) and writing skill (52% vs. 50%) than their peersnationally.Figure 2Self Ratings of UCSC and National FreshpersonsFall 19940908070605040302010Fall 1994 ACE ResultsUCSCNational
9008070605040302010Figure 3Self Ratings of UCSC Students in 1985 and 1994198519946There has been a significant decline during the slt anine years in the percentage of UCSCstudents rating themselves above average in academic ability, (89% in 1985 vs. 75% today), mathability (52% vs. 41%), popularity (40% vs. 29%), intellectual self confidence (69% vs. 57%),leadership ability (56% vs. 49%), writing ability (63% vs. 52%), and drive to achieve (71% vs.67%). Ratings of artistic ability (39% vs. 38%) and social self confidence (47% vs. 44%) havealso slipped, although not as greatly as the other measures. This suggests that our freshpersonsare less self confident and less academically prepared than freshpersons nine years ago.Nationally, student's self ratings have declined over the past nine years in leadership (60% ratedabove average nine years ago vs. 59% today), popularity (50% vs. 41%), emotional health (65%vs 60%), physical health (66% vs 59%), and social self confidence (51% vs. 49%), but other selfratings have been fairly stable.Academic GoalsAs in previous years, UCSC students reported different reasons for attending college thantheir national peers. They were more interested in receiving a liberal arts education than theirpeers nationally, who were more motivated by the practical benefits of an education. Nationally,Fall 1994 ACE Results
7more students attended college with the aim of getting a better job (73% vs. 65%) or makingmore money (67% vs. 47%); while a greater percentage of UCSC students considered gaining ageneral education (79% vs. 66%), becoming a more cultured person (56% vs. 46%), improvingtheir academic skills (53% vs. 41%), learning more about things (89% vs. 79%), and getting awayfrom home (32% vs. 23%) as significant reasons for attending college. About the sameproportion of Santa Cruz students as students nationally estimated their chance of completing abachelors degree was 'very good' (83% vs. 82%). This proportion has varied from 83% to 87%percent over the last nine years at UCSC. Ten percent of UCSC students reported the likelihoodof requiring more time to finish a degree, down from 12% two years ago. Nationally, 8% ofstudents thought they would need extra time to complete a degree last 1992 and this year. Twopercent of UCSC students reported they believed they would stop out temporarily, compared with1% of their peers. About the same percent of Santa Cruz students planned to continue theireducation in graduate or professional school as their peers nationally, (88% vs. 85%), but a largerpercent of Santa Cruz students planned to earn a doctorate (36% vs. 22%) rather than aprofessional degree (17% vs. 26%).College SelectionMore than two-thirds of UCSC students listed UC Santa Cruz as their college of firstchoice. The criteria which students rated important in selecting a particular college varied fromtheir peers nationally. Local students were most influenced by the size of the school and theacademic reputation, although no one factor was rated very important by more than 37% of thestudents. Nationally, 74% of freshpersons were concerned with academic reputation, and 58%selected a college because graduates get good jobs. Opportunities for graduates to attend topschools (24% vs. 45%) or get good jobs (26% vs. 58%) was less influential to UCSC studentsthan their peers. Social reputation was also not nearly as important to UCSC students as tostudents nationally (19% vs. 35%). More UCSC students cited special programs, financialassistance and proximity to home as important factors in college selection. Financial assistance, (atopical issue in light of California's state budget and today's economy), was rated very importantby 25% of UCSC students and 19% of students nationally. Fewer UCSC students rated lowtuition as very important in college selection as their peers nationally (15% vs. 32%). Abouttwenty-two percent of UCSC and national students cited special programs as an important factorin choosing a college. Only thirteen percent of Santa Cruz students considered proximity to homean important selection criteria, compared to 11% of their peers. Important reasons cited forcoming to a particular school are listed in Table 3. Two years of data are provided forcomparison for UCSC and their peers trends.Freshpersons were also asked about their funding for educational expenses. Forty-ninepercent of UCSC students believed they would have to get a job to help pay expenses comparedto 40% of their peers. Thirty percent of our students expected to obtain support from collegework-study grants compared to 12% nationwide.This 11% increase from 1992 is due to the$3,000 decrease in family median income of UCSC students ($57,400 to $54,230 today). Aboutthe same percentage expected funding from parents or family (85% vs. 87%) and loans (35% vs.23%). In spite of the 85% parents funding their child’s education, there is still an 11% increase ofFall 1994 ACE Results
8our students expected to obtain support from college work study grants suggest that the amountprovided by the parents is not enough. Over half (52%) of UCSC students and studentsnationally expressed some concern about financing college, but significantly more Santa Cruzstudents said they had major concerns about financing college (28% vs. 16%). Financial reasonsfor choosing a college have become more important to our freshpersons than students nine yearsago. In 1985, living near home was considered important to only 8% of our students comparedwith 13% today; low tuition was noted by 12% of students compared with the current 15%; andfinancial assistance was important to only 10%, while it was marked very important by 25% ofstudents in the fall of 1994.Table 3Reasons cited by UCSC and National Freshpersons for Selecting a CollegeFall 1985 and Fall 1994Creteria for Selecting a CollegeUCSCNational1994198519941985Academic reputation35337475Social reputation19173537Financial assistance25101911Special programs22202117Low tuition15123227Attend top graduate school24214535Get good jobs26185853Proximity to home138119Size of school36na23naIntended Major, Career and Life GoalsThere were large differences between freshpersons at UCSC and their peers nationwide intheir choice of majors. Santa Cruz students showed a preference for biological sciences (29% vs.13%), social sciences (23% vs. 11%), arts and humanities (16% vs. 11%), and the physicalsciences (6% vs. 4%). Their peers show greater interests in professional majors (4% vs. 16%)business (3% vs. 13%) and engineering (3% vs. 11%). About 21% of UCSC students said it waslikely that they would change their majors compared with 19% of freshpersons nationally. MoreUCSC students selected probable careers in scientific research (11% vs. 3%), writer/journalist(4% vs. 3%), art/theater arts (5% vs. 3%), clinical psychologist (4% vs. 2%), conservationist (2%vs. 1%), high school teacher (5% vs. 4%) or college teacher (2% vs. 1%) compared with theirpeers nationally. About 24% of UCSC students were undecided about their probable career,compared with about 15% nationally.Fall 1994 ACE Results
9UC Santa Cruz students also differed from their natinoal peers in the life goals they ratedvery important, as shown in Figure 4. Developing a philosophy of life was the goal most UCSCstudents agreed was very important (66% vs. 51% nationally), followed by helping others indifficulties (65% vs 64%), raising a family (59% vs. 71%) and becoming an authority in own field(57% vs. 68%). Nationally, most freshpersons considered raising a family and being well offfinancially (71%) the most important goal, followed by becoming an authority in own field (68%)and helping others in difficulties (64%).Figure 4Life Goals of UCSC and Students NationallyAcheive Performing ArtsCreate Artistic WorksCommunity LeaderTheoretical Contrib to SciCommunity ActionInfluence Social ValuesWell off FinanciallyRacial UnderstandingRaise FamilyDevelop Philosophy of Life01020304050607080Percent of Students Rating Goals as Very Important or EssentialNationalCSCUSignificantly more UCSC students cared about being involved in environmental cleanup(49% vs. 27%) than their peers nationally. Local interest in environmental cleanup surged from41% in 1987, to 51% after the Exxon-Valdez oil spill in Prince William Sound, Alaska in 1989.Social concern for racial understanding has decline from 59% to 55% among UCSC students overthe past two years, with the passage of Proposition 187, an initiative denying federal funds foreducation and health of illegal immigrants. Nationally, interest decreased from 50 % to 43% overthe last two years. Interest in influencing social values of UCSC students is also down 3% from1992. Compared to their peers, UCSC students placed more emphasis on writing original works(26% vs. 15%), creating art (25% v. 13%), influencing the political structure (29% vs. 22%), andFall 1994 ACE Results
01making theoretical contributions to science (30% vs. 24%). UCSC students expressed increasedinterest in community action; 37% rated this very important compared with 28% of peers.Political and Social ViewsAs in past years, students at UCSC continue to hold more liberal views than freshpersonsnationwide; 57% vs. 33% rated themselves as liberal or far left. This was reflected in UCSCstudents views on current issues, as shown in Figure 5. UCSC students diverged from studentsnationally in expressing greater support for legalized abortion (85% vs. 72%), national health care(77% vs. 71%), increased taxation of the wealthy (74% vs. 66%), control pollution (94% vs.86%), and abolish death penalty (36% vs 24%).Figure 5UCSC and National Social ViewsControl pollutionControl handgunLegalize abortionDiscourage energy useNational health care planProtect consumer Wealthy pay more taxesLegalize marijuanaConsensual sex okConcern for criminalsEmployers drug testsProhibit racist speechLaws violate valuesMandatory test AidsDe-emp college sportsAbolish death penaltyRaise taxes-reduce deficitRacial discrim problemMarried women homeProhibit homo relationsFall 1994 ACE Results0102030405060708090UCSCNationalPercent of Students who Agree or Support View001
11Striking differences were found in attitudes towards consensual sex (63% vs. 47%), insupport of legalizing marijuana (65% vs. 39%), and de-emphasize college sports (37% vs. 28%).UCSC students favored consumer protection (74% vs. 68%), discourage energy consumption(82% vs 77%), and disobey laws that violate values (49% vs 37%) more strongly than studentsnationally. UCSC students agreed less strongly than their national peers with conservative ideaslike employers be able to require drug tests (56% vs. 75%), too much concern for criminals (58%vs. 70%), AIDS testing be mandatory (42% vs. 54%), married women should stay at home (10%vs. 19%), and homosexual relations be prohibited (8% vs. 20%).As shown in Figure 6, social attitudes among UCSC freshpersons have become moreliberal in the last decade. The greatest single change has been an increased awareness of the needfor legalization of marijuana, up 23% from 1985. Eighty-five percent of students locally nowsupport legal abortion, up about 3% in nine years. The percentage of students who believe thegovernment is not adequately protecting consumers has increased from 61% to 75% of UCSCstudents today. Seventy-seven percent of UCSC freshpersons now realizes the need for nationalhealth care plan, an increase of 13% since 1985. Agreement with conservative viewpoint to raisetaxes to reduce deficit declined by 6% to 32% in nine years. The small percentage of studentswho favor prohibition of homosexual relations declined by 9% to a record low of 8% in 1994.Figure 6Changes in UCSC Social ViewsProhibit homo relationsMarried women homeRaise taxes-reduce deficitAbolish death penaltyLegalize marijuanaWealthy pay more taxesProtect consumer National health care planDiscourage energy useLegalize abortionControl pollutionFall 1994 ACE Results010203040506070809019941985Percentage of Students who Agree or Support View001