Who are our Students,  Fitchburg edition. @Americanstudier notes from #TTII 

Ben Railton, from Fitchburg State, has shared with us his notes from the Who are our Students panel at the Teaching at Teaching-Intensive Institutions event.   He compiled info on the demographics at Fitchburg, from enrollees’ high schools to retention and graduation rates.  He offers reflections on his students and gives us some important takeaways.  Thanks, Ben!
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Where I got these: http://www.fitchburgstate.edu/about-us/strategic-planning/ (both Factbook 2014 and Common Data Set 2013-2014)

Fall 2013: 4565 applicants, 3523 accepted, 1200 enrolled—about 800 freshmen, about 400 transfers

First Years:

Demographic breakdown of that group: 520 male, 680 female; 890 white, 120 hispanic, 90 Af Am, 25 Asian, 44 more than one, 15 non-resident alien, 7 unspecified

SAT breakdown for first-years: 50 over 1800; 250 between 1500 and 1800; 250 between 1350 and 1500; 180 between 1050 and 1350

High schools for first-years: 55 Leominster, 34 Monty Tech, 31 Fitchburg, smaller numbers lots of others

Colleges for transfers: 120 Mount; 50 Quinsigamond CC; smaller numbers for lots of sister institutions

 

All Day:

All day students as of F13: 3808; 1626 living on campus

All students period as of F13: 4239 ug; 2424 grad

Demographics: 1900 male, 2300 female; 3230 white, 370 hispanic, 230 Af Am, 80 Asian, 104 mixed, 26 nonresident aliens, 200 unknown

Age: 630 18; 700 19; 675 20; 680 21; 700 22-24; 180 25-29; 75 30-34; 30 35-39; 25 each 40-44 and 45-49; 20 over 50

Out of state 8%; Commute or off-campus 59%

Financial aid: 3270 full-time ugs; 3100 applied for need-based aid; 2200 accepted;

 

Degrees Awarded in S13:

817 Bachelors; 440 Masters

Majors: 14.5% Visual/Performing Arts; 14% Business/Marketing; 10% IDIS; 9% Education; 7.5% Nursing; 7.5% Law Enforcement; 4.5% Psych; 4% Bio; 4% Engineering; 4% Journalism; 3.5% English; 3.5% Comp Sci; 3% Human Services; 2% History
Retention:

Right around 75% after first year; around 65% after second; around 60% after third; about 25% graduate in 4th year, and another 25-30% are retained, so 50-55% retention

 

Anecdotes:

Things Not Included In Those Stats:

Work, most fully

Family obligations/responsibilities, secondly

What that adds in terms of commute/time distribution, thirdly

Some extracurriculars, but fewer than most comparable institutions I believe because of those three

 

Other Related Challenges:

Time management/distribution

Not doing reading—because of time, because of priorities, because of succeeding in classes with maximal efficiency

Not participating—partly because of last one, but also because of uncertainty, lack of confidence, sense that we’re the experts

 

Benefits:

Sense of financial value

Willingness to do what feels like it will maximize success

Determination to complete degree and carry it forward into future

 

Emphases:

All this is worth being aware of and factoring into every aspect of our teaching and work

Also worth recognizing that we can contribute: to diversity, for one example; to retention, for another

But at the same time, I would push in one other direction: I’ve been around 6 widely distinct ug populations—UVA growing up; Harvard as undergrad; Temple as grad student; BU and UMB as adjunct; here—lots of differences to be sure, with something like work and family obligations as exhibits A and B between different types—but also some fundamental similarities: like reading/preparation everywhere; like 20 year old lives pulled in all sorts of directions, with classes one often small part of that mix; with desire to have fun balanced with sense of succeeding in college; with how open they are to what we bring to the mix and how we can contribute to those things moving forward.

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