Fall 2013 BCSSE highlights

The Beginning College Survey of Student Engagement (BCSSE) is a national survey given to incoming freshmen as part of their University 101 class during the first two weeks of the fall semester.  BCSSE asks freshmen about their academic and social experiences both during their last year of high school and their expectations for the first year of college.   BCSSE was completed by 676 incoming freshmen during the most recent administration in Fall 2013.

Highlights from the Fall 2013 BCSSE administration include:

  • 68% of respondents were female
  • 68% of freshmen are first-generation students
  • Nicholls was the first college choice for 69% of freshmen
  • 38% of freshmen reported average high school grades of an A- or higher.  55% report average grades between B+ and B-, while the remaining 7% reported grades of C+ or lower.
  • 43% of freshmen expect average first-year grades of an A- or higher.  55% expect average grades between B+ and B- ,while the remaining 3% expect grades of C+ or lower.
  • 21% of freshmen spent more than ten hours per week preparing for class during their last year of high school, while 40% spent more than ten hours working for pay.  For a chart showing the average number of hours per week freshmen spent on four specific activities during their senior year of high school (preparing for class, working, participating in co-curricular activities, and relaxing/socializing), click here.
  • In contrast, 62% of freshmen reported they expect to spend more than ten hours per week preparing for class during their first year of college, while 45% expect to spend more than ten 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.
  • 34% of freshmen expect a high degree of difficulty in managing their time
  • 37% of freshmen expect a high degree of difficulty in paying for college expenses.   82% will use scholarships and grants to pay for some amount of college expenses, while 50% 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.

New Fall 2013 BCSSE items and scales – The Fall 2013 BCSSE survey contains many new and modified items and scales that were not present on past versions. These include:

a) Quantitative Reasoning – This scale consists of three items measuring “high school engagement with analysis and numerical information”. For example, one item asks students how often they “evaluate what others have concluded from numerical information”. To see results on these items for Fall 2013 respondents, click here.

b) Learning Strategies – This scale consists of three items measuring the “use of effective learning strategies in high school”. For example, one item asks students how often they reviewed notes after class.  To see results on these items for Fall 2013 respondents, click here.

c) Collaborative Learning – This scale consists of four items measuring the respondent’s “expectation to interact and collaborate with peers” during their first year of college. For example, one item asks how often the student expects to “work with other students on course projects or assignments”. To see results on these items for Fall 2013 respondents, click here.

d) Student-Faculty Interaction – This scale consists of four items measuring the respondent’s “expectation to interaction and engage with faculty” during their first year of college. For example, one item asks students how often they expect to “talk about career plans with a faculty member”. To see results on these items for Fall 2013 respondents, click here.

e) Interactions with Diverse Others – This scale consists of four items measuring the respondent’s “expectation to interaction with peers different from themselves” during their first year of college. These differences asked about in the scale include by race/ethnicity, economic background, religious beliefs, and political views. To see results on these items for Fall 2013 respondents, click here.

Differences on BCSSE items by first-generation status:

As mentioned above, 68% of Fall 2013 BCSSE respondents were first-generation students. Notable differences were found on many BCSSE items by first-generation status, including:

  • First-generation students are more likely to ask instructor for help with course assignments – 40% of first-generation students reported being “very certain” that they would ask instructors for help when struggling with course assignments, compared with 26% of non first-generation students. For a full breakout, click here.
  • First-generation students are more likely to use student loans to pay for college expenses – 58% of first-generation students reported using student loans, compared with 32% of non first-generation students. For a full breakout of payments types by first-generation status, click here.
  • First-generation students were less likely to report Nicholls being their first choice to attend college – 66% of first-generation students reported Nicholls was their first choice, compared with 75% of non first-generation students. For a full breakout of choice of institution by first-generation status, click here.