2012 National Freshman Attitudes Report

An exploration of attitudes that influence student success

The 2012 National Freshman Attitudes Report describes the attitudes and motivations of first-year students nationally at the beginning of their undergraduate experience.

Included with this report: Changes in attitudes by the middle of the freshman year, plus an Addendum by Race/Ethnicity

This report describes self-reported attitudes and motivations of today’s first-year college students throughout the nation, based on survey responses from a sizable sample of freshmen attending college during the academic year, 2011-2012. The primary focus of this report is on freshman attitudes as students began the fall term, but this year’s report and its online addenda also examine how attitudes change as students progress through their classes.

Among the highlights:

  • Many incoming male freshmen indicated lower levels of academic engagement when compared with their female counterparts, though more males than females reported they enjoyed solving complex math problems.
  • In a finding that appears to demonstrate the value of higher education at cultivating tolerance toward others, a substantially higher percentage of students at the mid-point of their freshman year compared to the beginning of their freshman year agreed with the statement, “I get along well with people who disagree with my opinion openly.”
  • Hispanic freshmen were more willing to make sacrifices to achieve their educational goals than freshmen from other racial/ethnic groups, but they also reported they had a weaker understanding of the physical sciences.
  • Adult, non-traditional-age freshmen expressed a mixture of views toward educators, along with a stronger desire than traditional-age freshmen to receive individual help with improving their math and writing skills.

See previous Freshman Attitudes Reports.


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