Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Some Facts about Our College Freshmen

Last month, Spectra (a monthly publication from the National Communication Association) featured an article titled, "On Freshman's Minds: A Statistical Profile". This article included information from the UCLA's Higher Education Research Institute titled, "The American Freshman: National Norms for Fall 2008." The statistics for this report featured information from surveys administered to 240,580 first-year students attending 340 baccalaurate colleges and universities in the U.S. Here are some facts from this report:

I. Miles from College to Permanent Home: 4.9% of freshmen live five (5) miles or less from home 5.8% of freshmen live six (6) to ten (10) miles from home 24.3% of freshmen live 11 to 50 miles from home 17.3% of freshmen live 51 to 100 miles from home 33.0% of freshmen live 101 to 500 miles from home 14.1% of freshmen live over 500 miles from home
II. Student Rate Self Above Average or Highest 10 Percent in: 75.2% Drive to Achieve 73.7% Cooperativeness 69.5% Academic Ability 67.2% Understanding of Others 61.8% Leadership Ability 60.7% Self-Confidence 58.5% Self Understanding 56.8% Creativity 55.8% Physical Health 54.5% Emotional Health 52.5% Self-Confidence (Social) 47.5% Writing Ability 44.9% Mathematical Ability 39.9% Spirituality 39.4% Popularity 38.4% Computer Skills 37.7% Public-Speaking Ability 30.6% Artistic Ability

What do you think about these statistics? It seems this study's public speaking statistics are reinforced by my students' public speaking goal setting assignment. Their goals indicate the students are not comfortable delivering a speech in front of a group of people. I require the students to reexamine their goals during the midterm examination period. When the end of the semester arrives, my students give their goals a final examination and a written reflection. Overwhelmingly, it seems most of the students are significantly more comfortable with their public speaking ability after completing the course. It would be interesting to see if HERI decides to turn their Fall 2008 study/report into a longitudinal study!

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