2000 SONS Freshmen and Transfers: Results and Summary

The purpose of this report is to provide information from the University of California application and the Office of Student Research survey of new students entering fall 2000, to provide a statistical profile of the new undergraduates.

Sixty-four percent of the freshmen knew that they would be applying to Berkeley before the 12th grade, with 28 percent knowing by 9th grade or earlier. Seventy four percent of the transfers knew that they would be applying to Berkeley before the last academic year at their former school, with 38 percent knowing before starting college.

Sixty-six percent of the freshmen but only 36 percent of the transfers reported that it was somewhat difficult or difficult for them to choose Berkeley over other colleges that admitted them.

Forty-three percent of the transfers and 39 percent of the freshmen reported that overall academic quality was the deciding or final factor in choosing Berkeley. This was followed by quality of intended field of study and location by both groups.

Sixty-three percent of the freshmen and 52 percent of the transfers would have seriously considered attending UCLA if not admitted to Berkeley.


The fall 2000 new undergraduates are comprised of 71 percent freshmen and 29 percent transfers (advanced standing).

The gender distribution is 54 percent women and 46 percent men.

Ethnic Distribution

Freshman (%)Transfer (%) Freshman (%)Transfer (%)
African American 4.0 4.0 Asian Subgroups
American Indian 0.5 1.0 Chinese 21.2 15.6
Asian 44.6 30.9 East Indian/Pakistani 4.4 2.6
Chicano 6.3 6.1 Filipino 3.7 2.8
Latino 2.7 3.2 Japanese 1.6 1.7
White 30.7 40.5 Korean 6.3 3.3
Other 1.7 3.2 Pacific Islander 0.3 0.3
No Data 9.3 11.1 Vietnamese 4.1 3.2
International 2.1 1.0 Other Asian 2.9 1.6

Sixteen percent of the new 2000 undergraduates are immigrants. Among the immigrant students, Chinese are 33 percent, followed by white (16 percent), Korean (10 percent), and Vietnamese (7 percent).

Only 30 percent of the freshmen and 38 percent of the transfers came from families where both parents were born in the United States.

Immigrant Origins

 Freshman (%)Transfer (%)
Not born in the U.S., came:
1-5 years ago 6% 24%
6-10 years ago 8 7
11-15 years ago 7 4
More than 15 years ago 7 7
Born in the U.S., with:
Neither parent born in the U.S. 34 13%
One parent born in the U.S. 8 6
Both parents born in the U.S. 30 38

The median reported parental income for the 2000 freshmen is $65,500. Twenty-five percent come from families who make $32,000 or less per year, and 25 percent come from families who make $110,000 or more per year. Chicanos ($33,500), Latinos (39,750), and African Americans ($40,000) have the lowest median family incomes, and Whites (98,000) have the highest among the major ethnic groups.

The median parental income for California Community College transfer students, which are the vast majority of the transfers, is $46,000. Twenty-five percent of the registrants come from families making $21,000 or less, and 25 percent come from families making $85,000 or more per year. About a third of the California Community College registrants do not provide parental income data, therefore, these data are not as reliable as the freshman data.

Of the new freshmen, 47 percent come from families in which at least one parent has a post graduate degree or postgraduate study. Twenty-seven percent of the transfers come from families in which neither parent has any college experience.

There are significant differences in parental education by ethnic group among freshmen. For example, 61 percent of the Chicano freshmen have fathers with a high school diploma or less in contrast to 28 percent for African Americans, 20 percent Asians, and 6 percent for White freshmen.

Among freshmen, 82 percent of the fathers of White students have at least a four year college degree compared to 66 percent for Asian, 38 percent for African American, and 17 percent for Chicano.

Most of the 2000 freshmen come from California (89 percent). Los Angeles County provides 22 percent of the new freshmen, whereas 28 percent of the new freshmen are from four Bay Area counties: Santa Clara (9 percent), Alameda (8 percent), Contra Costa (6 percent), and San Francisco (4 percent). Eight percent are from other states, with no state other than Texas (1 percent) providing as many as one percent. Two percent are from foreign countries.

Transfers are more likely than freshmen to be from the Bay Area. Alameda County provides 16 percent of the new transfers, Contra Costa (11 percent), Santa Clara (9 percent) and San Francisco (8 percent). These four counties provide 44 percent of the California community college transfers, whereas Los Angeles County provides 12 percent. Five percent are from foreign countries.

Most of the new freshmen (85 percent) come from public high schools with 15 percent from private high schools. For the transfers, most (88 percent) come from California community colleges, four percent from other UC campuses, four percent from other four-year colleges, and two percent from non-California community colleges.

Academic Preparation and Expectations

For the new freshmen the uncapped high school grade point average is 4.03 at the 25th percentile and 4.45 at the 75th percentile. (Starting in the fall of 1998 the high school grade point average used for admission includes additional points for honors courses, resulting in grade point averages higher than 4.00.) The 25th percentile SATI-Total score is 1210 and the 75th percentile score is 1430. The new transfers have a transfer grade point of 3.50 at the 25th percentile and 3.90 at the 75th percentile.

New undergraduates generally think that they are well prepared for what will be required of them at Berkeley. Both freshmen and transfers are less confident about their ability to making effective oral presentations and speaking skills. Overall, transfers are slightly more confident than freshmen about their preparation for Berkeley. The major differences are in managing finances, using the library, accessing research information, and effective study strategies and skills.

Self Rating of Preparation (Percent "Good" or "Excellent")

 Freshman (%)Transfer (%)
Overall preparation as you start Berkeley 78 85
Skills to do well in math and math related courses 77 76
Effective study strategies and skills 74 84
Writing effective essays and papers 68 76
Reading with comprehension and speed 67 74
Making effective oral presentations/speaking skills 65 66
Internet, web skills 76 81
Desktop computer skills 75 80
Using the library, accessing research information 66 77
Coping with expectations of parents and family 81 87
Ability to maintain good health 78 82
Balancing academic and social activities 76 81
Ability to cope with a competitive atmosphere 74 78
Ability to handle stress 73 78
Time management skills 66 74
Managing your finance 67 78

The frequency of using the following services (percent "Never" or "once")

 Freshman (%)Transfer (%)
Received instruction on how to use your local library or school library/media resource center 70 73
Used resources from a local library or your school library to prepare a research paper of bibliography 22 21
Used the internet or World Wide Webb to prepare a research paper or bibliography 10 18
Asked a librarian, a school library media specialist, or a staff member for help in finding information 48 45
Used a computerized index or data base (of journal articles or books) to find information on a topic 48 31

The majority of the new freshmen (60 percent) are a little unsure or not sure at all about their choice of major. Freshmen (47 percent) are less sure than transfers (71 percent) that they will be able to get into the major of their choice.

Ninety-one percent of the freshmen and 86 percent of the transfers will own a computer when entering Berkeley in the fall. An additional six percent of the freshmen and eight percent of the transfers plan to buy a computer during the first year.

Twenty-nine percent of the freshmen and 39 percent of the transfers report that English was not their first learned language. For those reporting English as a second language, 90 percent of the freshmen and 72 percent of the transfers rated their proficiency in spoken English as "Good" or "Excellent". Eighty-four percent of the freshmen and 71 percent of the transfers rated their proficiency in written English as "Good" or "Excellent".

Top Intended Majors

Molecular and Cell Biology 14 Computer Science (L & S) 8
Business Administration 13 English 8
Computer Science (L & S) 7 Molecular and Cell Biology 7
Political Science 6 Economics 6
Electrical Engineering (EECS) 5 Business Administration 5

Sixty-three percent of the transfers and 48 percent of the freshmen expect to work part-time during the first year at Berkeley. Eighty-two percent of the freshmen and 81 percent of the transfers expect to work part-time after the first year.

Twenty-four percent of the freshmen and 38 percent of the transfers report that probably the most serious problem facing them at Berkeley will be financing their education.

Twenty-six percent of the transfers and 24 percent of the freshmen expect to contribute money to their parents to help pay bills or provide for other family members. Another 32 percent of the freshmen and 23 percent of the transfers are not sure about this.

It is more important to transfers (90 percent) then freshmen (77 percent) that they get into their first choice of major. Freshmen (74 percent) are not as sure as transfers (84 percent) that they made the right choice in choosing Berkeley. Sixty percent of the transfers and 52 percent of the freshmen report that they were attracted to Berkeley because of its reputation for diversity.

Ninety-one percent of the freshmen versus 63 percent of the transfers reported confirmed housing for the fall. Freshmen (51 percent) are less concerned than transfers (55 percent) about finding affordable housing while a student at Berkeley.

Statements about Berkeley (Percent "Agree" or "Strongly Agree")

Freshman (%)Transfer (%)
I have confirmed housing for the fall semester 91 63
It is important that I get into my first choice major 77 90
I know I made the right decision in choosing Berkeley 74 84
The past year I’ve felt overwhelmed with all I have to do 58 48
I was attracted to Berkeley because of its reputation for diversity 52 60
Finding affordable housing will be a major concern while I am a student at Berkeley 51 55
I am worried about my personal safety in and around the city of Berkeley 43 37
My parents have strong ideas of what I should and should not major in 30 17
Probably the most serious problem I will be facing at Berkeley is financing my education 24 38

Highest Degree Planned

Freshman (%)Transfer (%)
No Higher degree 6 8
Academic Masters (MA, MS) 28 31
Professional Masters (MSW, ML) 6 6
Business (MBA) 7 5
Doctorate (Ph.D., Ed.D.) 27 28
Medical (MD, OD, DDS) 13 10
Law (LLB, JD) 6 7
Not Sure 6 4

More freshmen than transfers anticipate either no loans (36 percent versus 29 percent) or loans of $20,000 or more (23 percent versus 16 percent). More transfers (55 percent) then freshmen (40 percent) anticipate loan totals up to $20,000.

Anticipated Loan Indebtedness at the End of Undergraduate Education

 Freshman (%)Transfer (%)
None 36 29
Less than $5,000 9 13
$5,000-9,999 10 18
$10,000-14,999 11 14
$15,000-19,999 10 11
$20,000 or more 23 16

Seventeen percent of those respondents who entered as freshmen and 9 percent of those who entered as transfers did not know or was unsure of the type of career they were likely to pursue.

Top Intended Occupations

Physician 16 College Professor 9
Lawyer/Judge 7 Lawyer/Judge 9
Business executive 7 Physician 8
Engineer 5 Computer programmer 6
Scientific Researcher 5 Teacher (elementary/secondary) 5

The information in this report comes primarily from responses to the 2000 Survey of New students (3623 matched out of 5278, a 69 percent response rate); OSR’s Undergraduate Admissions Statistics, Fall 2000; and OSR’s Client Server student data system.

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