The Beginning College Survey of Student Engagement (BCSSE) is a national survey given to incoming freshmen early in the fall semester during their University 101 class. BCSSE asks freshmen about both their academic and social experiences during their last year of high school and their expectation for the first year of college. BCSSE was completed by 95 incoming freshmen during the most recent administration in Fall 2012.
Highlights from the Fall 2012 BCSSE administration include:
- 71% of respondents were female
- 62% of freshmen are first-generation students
- 36% of freshmen reported average high school grades of an A- or higher. 55% report average grades between B- and B+, while the remaining 8% reported grades of “C+” or lower.
- 39% of freshmen expect average first-year grades of an A- or higher. 57% expect average grades between B- and B+, while the remaining 5% expect grades of “C+” or lower.
- 24% of freshmen spent ten or more hours per week preparing for class during their last year of high school, while 40% spent ten or more hours working for pay. For a chart showing the average number of hours per week freshmen spent on these four activities during their senior year of high school (preparing for class, working, participating in co-curricular activities, and relaxing/socializing), click here.
- In contrast, 73% of freshmen reported they expect to spend ten or more hours per week preparing for class during their first year of college, while 44% expect to spend ten or more hours working. For a chart showing the average numbers of hours per week freshmen expect to spend on the four activities mentioned above, click here.
- 76% of freshmen expect to ask questions in class and contribute to class discussions either “often” or “very often”
- 67% of freshmen expect some degree of difficulty in managing their time
- 54% of freshmen expect some degree of difficulty in paying for college expenses. 84% will use scholarships and grants to pay for some amount of college expenses, while 54% will use student loans. For a chart showing the amount of college expenses freshmen expect to be paid through various sources (scholarships and grants, student loans, parents and family, and self-pay), click here.
BCSSE trend analyses:
Nicholls began administering the BCSSE survey to incoming freshmen in 2009. Since the survey has been given to four consecutive freshmen cohorts, we are able to examine trends and changes over time regarding items of interest. Noteworthy trends over time include the following:
- First-generation status – The percentage of freshmen first-generation students has remained stable over time, ranging from 64% in 2009 to 60% in 2010 and 2011. To see the percentage of first-generation freshmen between 2009-2012, click here.
- High school academic achievement – Trends on several BCSSE measures show incoming Nicholls freshmen having higher high school academic achievement and being better prepared for college work. To see trends in reported high school grades, click here. To see trends on items related to high school writing assignments, click here. To see trends in perceived high school academic challenge, click here.
- Financial difficulties – Trends on BCSSE financial items indicate that Nicholls freshmen are having more difficulty paying for college. To see trends in perceived student difficulty in paying for college, click here. To see changes in the payment sources students use for college expenses (scholarships and grants, student loans, parents/family, or self-pay), click here.
Complete results from the 2009-2011 BCSSE administrations can be found below: