This report provides a statistical profile of the 5263 new fall 1997 undergraduates. 

  • Part 1:  based on information provided by all new students when they applied to Berkeley in fall 1996. 
  • Part 2:  based on the results of a survey conducted by the Office of Student Research in collaboration with CalSO (new student summer orientation program) during the summer of 1997.

PART 1: NEW UNDERGRADUATES

DEMOGRAPHICS

The fall 1997 new undergraduates are comprised of 68 percent freshmen and 32 percent transfers. This distribution is very similar to previous years. The gender distribution is a milestone. For the first time, other than World Wars I and II, women (51 percent) outnumber men (49 percent) among new undergraduates. The new undergraduates are ethnically diverse:

 % %
Chinese 19.7 African American 6.9
East Indian/Pakistani 3.6 American Indian 0.9
Filipino 2.7 Chicano 10.1
Japanese 1.7 Latino 2.7
Korean 6.0 White 32.3
Vietnamese 3.4 No Data 5.8
Other Asian 1.7 Other 2.2
Pacific Islander 0.3    
Asian Subtotal 39.0 International 4.7

The new 1997 undergraduates are 16 percent immigrants. Among the immigrant students, most are Chinese (36 percent), Korean (14 percent), White (13 percent), or East Indian/Pakistani (12 percent).

The median reported parental income of the new freshman class is $64,000. A quarter of the freshmen come from families who make $32,000 or less per year, and a quarter come from families who make $100,000 or more per year. There are major differences by ethnic groups. Chicanos ($37,500) and African Americans ($45,000) have the lowest median family incomes, whereas International students ($90,000) and Whites ($88,000) have the highest. The median parental income for California community college transfer students, which make up 85% of all transfers, is $46,000. Because transfer students are less likely than freshmen to report optional parental income information (55 percent versus 89 percent), the transfer data are not as reliable.

Of the new freshmen, 50 percent come from families in which one parent has a postgraduate degree or postgraduate education, and only 14 percent come from families in which neither has college experience. Forty-five percent of the fathers of freshmen have either postgraduate degrees or some postgraduate education, and an additional 24 percent have four-year college degrees. Fifty-two percent of the Chicano freshmen have fathers with a high school diploma or less in contrast to 29 percent for African American, 16 percent for Asians, and six percent for whites. Twenty-eight percent of the freshmen have mothers that have either postgraduate degrees or some postgraduate education and another 30 percent have four-year degrees.

Most (84 percent) of the 1997 freshmen come from California. Los Angeles County provides 29 percent of the new freshmen, whereas 32 percent of the freshmen are from the following four counties in the Bay Area; Santa Clara (11.8 percent), Alameda (8.3 percent), Contra Costa (5.6 percent), and San Francisco (6.1 percent). Another 9 percent are from other states with no single state providing more than one percent of the new freshmen population.

Only 2 percent are from foreign countries. Transfers are more likely than freshmen to be from the Bay Area. Forty-eight percent of the new transfers are from four counties; Alameda (15.1 percent), Contra Costa (12.7 percent), Santa Clara (11.9 percent) and San Francisco (8.7 percent), whereas Los Angeles County provides 14.0 percent.

Eighty-two percent of the new freshmen come from public high schools and 18 percent come from private high schools. For transfers, 86 percent came from California community colleges, eight percent from four-year colleges, five percent from other UC campuses, and one percent from out-of-state community colleges.

ACADEMIC PREPARATION

Fifty-eight percent of the new freshmen had a 4.00 or higher high school grade point average. (Starting in fall 1984, it has been possible for freshmen to have a high school grade point average greater than 4.00 because additional grade points are awarded for honors courses.) For the total Scholastic Aptitude Test score the 25th percentile is at 1120 and the 75th percentile is at 1350. Sixty-six percent of the transfers entered Berkeley with a grade point average of at least 3.50.

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PART 2: SURVEY RESULTS OF STUDENT NEEDS AND INTERESTS

The new freshmen and transfers at Berkeley appear to be more alike than they are different; there are few attitudinal differences between the two groups. Despite significant differences in demographic characteristics, the basic goals, needs, and priorities of the freshmen and transfers are the same.

Twenty-eight percent of the freshmen knew for certain that they would be applying to Berkeley by the ninth grade or earlier. Thirty-five percent of the transfers knew before starting college. Seventeen percent of the transfers and one percent of the freshmen only applied to Berkeley. Sixty-four percent of the freshmen and 38 percent of the transfers reported that it was somewhat difficult or difficult to choose Berkeley over other colleges that admitted them. Forty-eight percent of the freshmen and 62 percent of the transfers said that the deciding or final factor in favor of Berkeley was academic reputation. The quality of education for the money (value) was the second most frequent deciding factor. Both freshmen (55 percent) and transfers (44 percent) indicated that UCLA would have been the next UC campus considered if they had not been enrolling in Berkeley. For freshmen the next campus considered would have been San Diego (31 percent) and for transfers Davis (28 percent).

In general, the new students are very satisfied or satisfied with the way the university handled transactions with them and their parents. They were asked about academic program information, application and admissions process, amount of financial aid available, quality of service from the financial aid office, and housing information and services. With the exception of financial aid, from 73 to 90 percent were very satisfied or satisfied. Both freshmen (59 percent) and transfers (69 percent) were less satisfied with the amount of financial aid available. Freshmen (68 percent) were also less satisfied then transfers (76 percent) with the quality of service from the financial aid office.

Most new students consider themselves to be well prepared for what will be required of them at Berkeley. Seventy-seven percent of both freshmen and transfers think that their overall preparation for starting Berkeley is excellent or good. Oral presentations or speaking skills is the area where students feel the least prepared. Though 80 percent of the transfers and 75 percent of the freshmen think that making strong, effective oral presentations will be essential or very important for what will be required of them at Berkeley, only 54 percent of freshmen and 58 percent of transfers rate their preparation excellent or good. Most (84 percent of transfers and 82 percent of freshmen) think using a computer will be essential or very important to them at Berkeley. Sixty-nine percent and 68 percent respectively report that their preparation for using a personal computer for academic work is excellent or good. Seventy-three percent of freshmen and 71 percent of transfers report that they will own a computer when they enter in the fall and another 15 and 13 percent plan to buy one during the first year.

As in previous years, the intended majors of the new undergraduates are spread across the board with no one major having more than 16 percent of the respondents. The top intended majors among the freshmen and transfers are:

FRESHMEN%TRANSFERS%
Molecular and Cell Biology 16 English 12
Business Administration 11 Molecular and Cell Biology 7
Integrative Biology 7 Computer Science (EECS) 6
Electrical Engineering (EECS) 5 Business Administration 5
Political Science 5 Economics 5
    Political Science 5

The majority of the new freshmen (65 percent) are either a little unsure or not sure of their major. Less than half of the new freshmen think that they will be able to get into the major of their choice. Thirty-one percent of the freshmen strongly agree or agree that their parents have strong ideas of what they should or should not major in. Eighty percent report that they are sure that they made the right decision in choosing Berkeley. Fifty-nine percent expect to join a study group the first year. Seventy-seven percent of the freshmen expect to graduate in four years. Sixty-nine percent indicate that it is important to them to graduate in four years.

Transfers (75 percent) are more certain of their major than freshmen, and 79 percent are sure that they will be able to get into the major of their choice. Eighty-six percent are sure that they made the right decision in choosing Berkeley. Transfers are a little more likely to see the importance of a study group than freshmen; 63 percent think that they will join a study group the first year. Seventy-one percent of the transfers expect to graduate in two years. Sixty-seven percent indicate that it is important to them to graduate in two years. Transfers are more likely than freshmen to report that they expect to earn A's and B's their first year.

OTHER ASPECTS OF LIFE AT BERKELEY

Transfers (50 percent) identify financing their education as probably the most serious problem they will face at Berkeley much more often than freshmen (31 percent). Transfers are more likely to report that financing their education will be a hardship for their family (46 percent versus 36 percent). Seventy percent of the transfers and 52 percent of the freshmen expect to work (paid employment) during their first year. Eighty-three percent of both transfers and freshmen expect to work after the first year. A significant proportion of both transfers (30 percent) and freshmen (27 percent) expect to contribute money to their parents to help pay bills or provide for other family members while at Berkeley.

From a list of 18 support services and opportunities available to Berkeley undergraduates, students indicated the areas where they especially wanted to receive information. In general, freshmen and transfers expressed similar interests regarding information they would like to receive:

FRESHMEN WANT INFORMATION ON:TRANSFERS WANT INFORMATION ON:
76% Choosing the right courses 70% Choosing the right courses
63% Undergraduate Research Internship possibilities 67% Undergraduate Research Internship possibilities
54% Choosing the right major 50% Finding part-time employment
49% Finding part-time employment 45% Choosing the right career
48% Choosing the right career 32% Choosing the right major

AFTER BERKELEY

Sixty-nine percent of the freshmen and 63 percent of the transfers report that they will most likely go to graduate or professional school after graduating from Berkeley. Seventy-two percent of the transfers and 57 percent of the freshmen expect to have loans that they or their parents will have to repay. Transfers estimate that they will have to repay a median of $9,700 and for the freshmen the median is $16,200.

The information in this report comes primarily from the responses to the 1997 Survey of New Students (2270 out of 5263, a 43% response rate); OSR's Undergraduate Admissions Statistics, fall 1997; and the OSR's client server student data system.

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