In an ideal world, it would be nice to think that every entering first-year student wants to be in college.
However, the data at the top of this table shows at least some of these students wish they were doing something else. (These data are from our 2011 National Freshman Attitudes Report released earlier this year or were drawn from the same data set). Specifically, we see that between 11 and 17 percent of the students surveyed (the inverse of the 83 to 89 percent shown at top) are not convinced from the “get-go” that going to college is the most satisfying option for them. But what’s also interesting is that even though they might rather be doing something else, approximately 95 percent of first-year students indicate they are strongly dedicated to finishing college as they begin their college careers, no matter what obstacles get in their way (see bottom of table).
As it turns out, the first-year students who wish they were doing something else aren’t alone in holding that sentiment. National data also show that only 83 percent of continuing, second-year students agreed with the statement, “Of all the things I could do at this point in my life, going to college is definitely the most satisfying,” as reported earlier this year in our 2011 Pilot Study: The Attitudes of Second-Year College Students.
Are you seeing this on your campus, too? If so, how can you address the underlying attitudes of these students who are not convinced that college is their most satisfying choice, and prevent other students from adopting a similar view?