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Survey provides snapshot of incoming freshmen

New freshmen to Binghamton University are good students, confident of their academic abilities (a little less so about their social skills), who see themselves as generous and kind, use computers frequently and have ambitious plans for the future.

Those are just some of the findings of a survey of 1,500 freshmen as part of the national Cooperative Institutional Research Program. The annual survey of entering college students across the United States allows colleges to compare their students’ attitudes and profiles with their peers and against national norms. The survey was conducted during summer orientation before students had begun class.

Binghamton is part of the highly selective public category, which includes such schools as UCLA, University of Delaware, Rutgers University, the University of Virginia and the University of Michigan.

Among the survey highlights for Binghamton students compared with their peers:


77% said they had an A- or better GPA in high school, compared to 66% at other selective public universities.

91% took AP or college courses in high school.

Students rank their math (62%) and writing abilities (52%) above average at higher rates than students at peer schools.

14% participated in a summer research program, compared to 11% at peer schools.

85% went to public schools, compared to 82% at peer schools.

74% said academic reputation was very important in their college choice, compared to 69% at peer schools.

70% said they expect at least a B average while in college, compared to 63% at peer schools.


72% applied to four or more colleges, compared to 50% at peer schools.

59% said Binghamton was their first choice, compared to 68% at peer schools.

The most important factors in their college search were visits (57%) and college guidebooks (25%).

Almost twice as many Binghamton freshmen chose their university for its low tuition com-pared to the peer schools (60% vs. 33%).

24% said social activities were very important in their choice, compared to 35% at peer schools.

Cultural Backgrounds

One-third said a language other than English is spoken at home.

37% have one or more parents born outside the United States.

30% identify themselves as Catholic; 22% as Jewish; and 24% say they have no religious preference.

67% said they have socialized with someone from another ethnic group and 45% said improving their understanding of other cultures was very important. The rates were comparable at peer schools.

One-third have at least one parent with a graduate degree.

10% come from families with incomes below $30,000 and 44% come from families with incomes above $100,000.

Career Goals

88% said they plan to go on beyond their bachelor’s degree, compared to 84% at peer schools.

17% want to become doctors and 9 % lawyers, compared to 15% and 6% at peer schools.

The most popular majors in descending order: undecided, biology, pre-med, psych-ology, mechanical engineering, political science and accounting. Views and Experiences

45% consider themselves middle of the road (44% at peer); 38% as liberal (32% at peer); and 14% as conservative (peer 20%).

Binghamton students favor abortion, legalization of marijuana and same-sex marriage at higher rates than their peers. However, 61% said affirmative action in college admissions should be abolished, compared to 57% of their peers who held that view.
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Last Updated: 10/14/08