NIU freshmen have changed

By Wendy Arquilla

NIU freshmen seem to have changed over the years and are somewhat different from their peers across the nation.

According to the 1992 Cooperative Institutional Research Program Survey, the racial background of NIU freshmen has changed in the past 10 years.

In 1982, 85 percent of freshmen were Caucasian as compared to 1992 when 73 percent were Caucasian. The number of African-American students and the number of Asian-American students has increased by 4 percent in the last 10 years.

However, the number of Hispanic students has not increased at all for the past 10 years.

Nationally speaking, in 1992, 85 percent of freshmen students were Caucasian, while six percent of freshmen were African-American, five percent were Asian-American and three percent were Hispanic.

There have been changes in political thought in the past 10 years as well. Since 1982, there has been almost a 10 percent increase of those freshmen in the 1992 survey that consider themselves “liberal.” The number of students who said they were “middle of the road” dropped by 10 percent. However, the number of “conservative” freshmen only has dropped a tenth of a percent from 1982.

Reasons for going to college since 1982 have changed as well with more importance being placed on getting a better education. The 1992 students were more concerned with making money. A large number of freshmen, about 57 percent, are planning to go to graduate school. In 1982, only 45 percent had the same intention as freshmen.

The biggest reason for going to college nationally was the hope of a better job, with 77 percent of freshmen indicating it as their top reason.

As for choosing NIU as the vehicle for their higher education, distinct differences concerning students’ reasons have surfaced over the years.

NIU’s academic reputation has fallen slightly over the years. In 1982, 60 percent of freshmen indicated good academic reputation as a reason for coming to NIU. Fifty-two percent of 1992 freshmen indicated academic reputation for choosing NIU, while 21 percent chose NIU for its social reputation.

The question of living near home has changed radically since 1982. Ten years ago, only 1 percent of freshmen said they chose NIU because it was close to home. However, in the 1992 survey, 27 percent said they picked NIU because of the short distance from their homes.

The distance from home, however, is not as important to freshmen around the nation. Only 15 percent of freshmen nationally said distance from home was the reason for their college choice.

The survey seemed to praise NIU for its improvements in providing financial assistance to students. Almost 17 percent of 1992 freshmen said they came to NIU because they were offered financial aid if they came to the university.

Only 8 percent of 1982 freshmen said they came to NIU because of financial assistance.