The HEDS New Student Survey was administered September 9-22, 2020 to all new first-time students over the age of 18. We had a response rate of 67.9% (247/364); the survey respondents were representative of the panel (students invited to participate in the survey).

HEDS New Student Survey Executive Summary

New students are focused on their futures:
– 99.6% report it is important for them to graduate from college, and 82.5% want to graduate from Lawrence.
– 94.4% say getting good grades is important to them.
– 94.3% report they are likely to continue at Lawrence.
– 93.1% are confident in their decision to attend Lawrence.
– 74.1% have a major in mind.

New students perceive themselves to be passionate and persevering:
– 87.8% report overcoming setbacks and 63.9% are not easily discouraged by setbacks.
– 88.6% perceive themselves to be hard workers, 73.0% are diligent, and 66.6% finish what they start.

A successful college experience involves learning new things that will help them in life after college, feeling prepared to begin a meaningful career and to deal with intellectual and interpersonal challenges that will come their way, feeling confident that they will be able to financially support them self in the future, and being better prepared to make a positive impact on the world.

New students worry often about doing well in college (74.6%), balancing class, social, family, and other life responsibilities (71.0%), and maintaining their mental health and well-being (66.3%).

During high school:
– 51.6% engaged in extracurricular activities, with an equal percentage spending an average of 1-3 hours (25.8%) or 11+ hours (25.8%) per week.
– 43.4% did not work for pay.
– 30.3% of students spent an average of 4-6 hours per week studying, doing homework, or preparing for class.

Compared to high school, in college they plan to spend more time studying, doing homework, or preparing for classes (66.8%) and working for pay (27.0%), and
the same amount of time on extracurricular activities (50.8%).

Imagine some point in the future, after you’re done with school and you’re leading a successful life. What does your life look like? What are you doing? How are you living? Please think big! Word clouds are included to capture the frequency of words mentioned in responses (the more frequent a word is mentioned, the larger it appears in the word cloud). Responses focused on financial stability, housing security, having a career and/or family, and giving back to their communities.

What could [Institution name] faculty and staff do this year to support you and help you be successful? Word clouds are included to capture the frequency of words mentioned in responses (the more frequent a word is mentioned, the larger it appears in the word cloud). Responses focused on a desire for help in the form of support, encouragement, reassurance, and guidance regarding education and career pathways. In addition, students expressed a desire to learn about resources available to support their success.

When asked if they wanted have a conversation about their goals and how to accomplish them with any of the people or offices listed (Academic advisors, Career Center, and/or Student Life) … 17.8% gave permission to forward responses to one person/office and 11.3% gave permission to forward responses to more than one person/office. If you gave permission to forward responses and have not yet heard from any of the people of offices listed, please contact Kristin McKinley at research.admin@lawrence.edu.

Beginning College Survey of Student Engagement (BCSSE): COVID-19 Disruption and High School Graduates Executive Summary

We administered supplemental questions, with permission from the Beginning College Survey of Student Engagement (BCSSE) Project Manager Jim Cole, from the BCSSE COVID-19 Disruption and High School Graduates module, to gain a better understanding of how COVID-19 disruptions impacted our incoming students’ high school experiences, college choice, expectations, and attitudes towards learning.

How did COVID-19 impact college choice?
The majority (86.8%) of students report COVID-19 did not disrupt their college choice. For the 13.2% who reported it did impact their choice, there were a variety of reasons provided including a desire to be closer to home, a desire for a remote setting, and being unable to afford their previous choice.

High School Instructional Changes and Preferences
– Almost all (94.7%) high school students experienced a switch from classroom-based to entirely online instruction. 80.4% report it was more challenging to learn in an entirely online environment. The consequences of this are evident with 56.6% report putting in less effort and 80.5% report learning less. The majority (67.4%) of students report lower grading standards. Students (66.5%) report performing about the same on online tests compared to classroom-based tests.
– The overwhelming majority (89.8%) prefer classroom-based instruction, but 59.7% report feeling very prepared/prepared to take future online courses.
– The overwhelming majority agreed their technology at home was sufficient to do schoolwork, and they were able to plan and implement a schedule to complete their online courses.

Future Optimism
The overwhelming majority (89.6%) are very optimistic/optimistic about having a successful first year of college.

Did your high school experiences from this past spring change how you think about online education? Please explain. Word clouds are included to capture the frequency of words mentioned in responses (the more frequent a word is mentioned, the larger it appears in the word cloud). Responses included both the positive and negative aspects of their experiences as their high schools switched to online instruction.

Who did we share the data with?

Results were shared with the President and some his Cabinet members (Provost and Dean of the Faculty, Vice President for Student Life, Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion, Vice President for Enrollment and Communication, Associate Vice President of Communications, and Assistant to the President and Secretary to the Board of Trustees), Riaz Waraich Dean for the Career Center & Center for Community Engagement and Social Change, Associate Dean of the Faculty and Associate Professor of History, Faculty Director of Advising, the Dean of Academic Success, Freshman Studies Advisory Committee (who intends to share it with those teaching Freshman Studies), and three of the working groups (Health, Curricular, and Co-Curricular) of the Lawrence Pandemic Planning Team. In addition, some comments from the question about defining success (“Imagine some point in the future, after you’re done with school and you’re leading a successful life. What does your life look like? What are you doing? How are you living?”) were shared with the Board of Trustees Antiracism Task Force.