2002 SONS Freshmen and Transfers: Results and Summary

This report draws on information from both the University of California application form and the Office of Student Research's fall 2002 survey of new students. The primary purpose is to provide a statistical profile of Berkeley's new fall 2002 undergraduates.

Berkeley provides a number of recruitment activities for potential students, starting in April. That initial activity is a visit to the campus. Twenty-nine percent of the freshmen and 48 percent of the transfers had made the final decision to attend Berkeley before the first visit date, April 6 for freshmen and May 7 for transfers. Thirty-three percent of the freshmen and 22 percent of the transfers made the decision to attend Berkeley after April 25 for freshmen and May 25 for transfers.

Fifty-three percent of the freshmen but only 34 percent of the transfers reported that it was "somewhat difficult" or "difficult" for them to choose Berkeley over other colleges that admitted them. Twelve percent of the freshmen and 7 percent of the transfers reported that it was "very difficult" to choose Berkeley.

Fifty-four percent of the freshmen and 57 percent of the transfers received a financial aid award. Forty-four percent of the freshmen and 55 percent of the transfers reported that the Berkeley award was "about the same" as the award offered by their second-choice college. Twenty-seven percent of the freshmen and 16 percent of the transfers reported Berkeley's award as "worse" or "much worse".

Forty-six percent of the freshmen and 42 percent of the transfers would have seriously considered attending UCLA if not attending Berkeley.


The fall 2002 new undergraduates are comprised of 68 percent freshmen and 32 percent transfers.

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 .4 1.2 Chinese 23.1 15.7
Asian 46.0 33.4 East Indian/Pakistani 3.9 2.8
Chicano 8.2 8.9 Filipino 4.4 3.6
Latino 3.1 3.2 Japanese 1.7 1.2
White 29.9 36.1 Korean 5.7 4.5
Other .9 3.0 Pacific Islander .2 .3
No Data 7.5 10.3 Vietnamese 4.0 3.3
International 2.5 8.2 Other Asian 3.1 2.0

Fourteen percent of the new fall 2002 undergraduates are immigrants. Among the immigrant students, Chinese are 37 percent, followed by White (15 percent), Korean (11 percent), and Mexican/Mexican American (6 percent).

Only 28 percent of the freshmen and 36 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 8 20
6-10 years ago 7 8
11-15 years ago 8 6
More than 15 years ago 5 8
Born in the U.S., with:
Neither parent born in the U.S. 35 15
One parent born in the U.S. 8 7
Both parents born in the U.S. 28 36

The median reported parental income for the 2002 freshmen is $70,000. Twenty-five percent come from families who make $32,995 or less per year, and 25 percent come from families who make $120,000 or more per year. Chicanos ($33,715), and African Americans ($40,000) have the lowest median family incomes, and Whites ($100,000) 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 $50,000. Twenty-five percent of the registrants come from families making $24,000 or less, and 25 percent come from families making $94,953 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, 45 percent come from families in which at least one parent has a post-graduate degree or post-graduate study.About 28 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, 67 percent of the Chicano freshmen have fathers with a high school diploma or less in contrast to 32 percent for African Americans, 22 percent Asians, and 7 percent for White freshmen.

Among freshmen 79 percent of the fathers of White students have at least a four-year college degree compared to 65 percent for Asian, 38 percent for African American, and 18 percent for Chicano.

Most of the fall 2002 freshmen come from California (91 percent).Los Angeles County provides 25 percent of the new freshmen, whereas 29 percent of the new freshmen are from four Bay Area counties: Santa Clara (9 percent), Alameda (9 percent), Contra Costa (6 percent), and San Francisco (5 percent). Seven percent are from other states, with no state other than Texas (1 percent) providing as much 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, followed by Contra Costa (10 percent), Santa Clara (9 percent) and San Francisco (8 percent). These four counties provide 43 percent of the California community college transfers, whereas Los Angeles County provides 16 percent. Four 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 (91 percent) come from California community colleges, three percent from other UC campuses, four percent from other four-year colleges, and one percent from non-California community colleges.

Academic Preparation and Expectations

For the new freshmen the uncapped high school grade point average is 4.06 at the 25th percentile and 4.43 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 SAT I-Total score is 1200 and the 75th percentile score is 1420.The new transfers have a transfer grade point of 3.47 at the 25th percentile and 3.89 at the 75th percentile.

New undergraduates generally think that they are well prepared for what will be required of them at Berkeley. For freshmen the ability to manage their finances and making effective oral presentations are the areas of least confidence.Transfers are least confident about their ability to make effective oral presentations and their speaking skills. Overall, transfers are slightly more confident than freshmen about their preparation for Berkeley. The differences are the most pronounced in managing finances, skills to do well in math and math related courses, and time management skills.

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

 Freshman (%)Transfer (%)
Overall preparation as you start Berkeley 75 81
Skills to do well in math and math related courses 77 68
Effective study strategies and skills 77 82
Writing effective essays and papers 65 72
Reading with comprehension and speed 64 70
Making effective oral presentations, speaking skills 57 60
Internet, web skills 75 81
Desktop computer skills 72 75
Using the library, accessing research information 67 67
Ability to cope with a competitive atmosphere 70 73
Ability to handle stress 68 72
Time management skills 60 67
Managing your finance 59 69

Thirty-nine of the new freshmen are "not that sure" or "not sure at all" about their choice of major. Freshmen (64 percent) are less sure than transfers (88 percent) that they will be able to get into the major of their choice.

Ninety-five percent of the freshmen and 92 percent of the transfers will own a computer when entering Berkeley in the fall.

Twenty-two percent of the freshmen and 25 percent of the transfers report that English was not their first language.

Top Intended Majors

Molecular and Cell Biology 15 English 8
Business Administration 13 Business Administration 7
Electrical Engineering (EECS) 5 Molecular and Cell Biology 6
Political Science 5 Economics 6
Psychology 5 Political Science 5

Sixty-seven percent of the transfers and 51 percent of the freshmen expect to work part-time during the first year at Berkeley. Eighty-five percent of the transfers and 84 percent of the freshmen expect to work part-time after the first year.

Twenty-six percent of the transfers and 25 percent of the freshmen expect to contribute money to their parents to help pay bills or provide for other family members. Another 34 percent of the freshmen and 25 percent of the transfers are not sure about this.

Fifty-three percent of both freshmen and transfers are "very concerned" about being overwhelmed the first semester, with all the things they will be expected to do.

Personal Concerns (Percent "Very Concerned" or "Somewhat Concerned")

 Freshman (%)Transfer (%)
Being overwhelmed, my first semester, with all the things I will be expected to do 90 90
Getting the career and professional advising that I will need 89 90
Getting the kind of academic advising that I will need 88 89
Being able to balance academic and social activities 88 78
Finding affordable housing while I am a student at Berkeley 82 76
Being able to make the kind of friends I want 82 68
Getting into my first choice of major 75 69
Financing my education at Berkeley 74 84
Getting the personal counseling that I might need 72 73
Being able to maintain good health 72 69
My personal safety in and around the city of Berkeley 71 61
Being able to cope with expectations of parents and family 63 57
Being away from family and friends, being "homesick" 58 41

Highest Degree Planned

 Freshman (%)Transfer (%)
Bachelors (BA, BS) 9 10
Academic Masters (MA, MS) 22 27
Professional Masters (MSW, ML) 6 4
Business (MBA) 13 9
Doctorate (Ph.D., Ed.D.) 28 31
Medical (MD, OD, DDS) 14 7
Law (LLB, JD) 8 12

More freshmen than transfers anticipate either no loans (35 percent versus 29 percent) or loans of $20,000 or more (24 percent versus 15 percent). More transfers (56 percent) then freshmen (42 percent) anticipate loan totals of less than $20,000.

Anticipated Loan Indebtedness at the End of Undergraduate Education

 Freshman (%)Transfer (%)
None 35 29
Less than $5,000 10 12
$5,000-9,999 10 19
$10,000-14,999 12 16
$15,000-19,999 10 9
$20,000 or more 24 15

Fifty-one percent of those respondents who entered as freshmen and 29 percent of those who entered as transfers are "not that sure" or "not sure at all" if the career they have chosen at this time will still be the one they will aspire to by the time of graduation.

Top Intended Occupations

Physician 11 Lawyer/Judge 11
Engineer 8 College Professor 7
Business Executive/CEO 8 Engineer 6
Lawyer/Judge 7 Physician 5
Scientific Researcher 4 Business Executive/CEO 5

The information in this report comes primarily from responses to the 2002 Survey of New Students (3528 matched out of 5421, a 65 percent response rate); OSR's Undergraduate Admissions Statistics, Fall 2002; and OSR's Client Server student data system.

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