2001 SONS Freshmen and Transfers: Results and Summary

This report draws on information from both the University of California application form and the Office of Student Research's fall 2001 survey of new students. The primary purpose is to provide a statistical profile of Berkeley's new fall 2001 undergraduates.

Berkeley provides a number of recruitment activities for potential students, starting in April. That initial activity is a visit to the campus. Twenty-seven percent of the freshmen and 50 percent of the transfers had made the final decision to attend Berkeley before the first visit date, April 6 for freshmen and May 7 for transfers. Forty-three percent of the freshmen and 29 percent of the transfers made the decision to attend Berkeley after April 21 for freshmen and May 21 for transfers.

Fifty-two percent of the freshmen but only 30 percent of the transfers reported that it was "somewhat difficult" or "difficult" for them to choose Berkeley over other colleges that admitted them.

"Academic Reputation" was reported more often by, both freshmen and transfers, as the deciding factor in the decision to attend Berkeley. This was followed by location, major field of study, and family influence.

Forty-five percent of the freshmen and 41 percent of the transfers would have seriously considered attending UCLA if not attending Berkeley.


The fall 2001 new undergraduates are comprised of 69 percent freshmen and 31 percent transfers.

The gender distribution is 55 percent women and 45 percent men.

Ethnic Distribution

African American 3.7 3.6 Asian Subgroups    
American Indian .5 .9 Chinese 20.7 13.8
Asian 43.9 28.6 East Indian/Pakistani 3.7 2.8
Chicano 7.7 6.8 Filipino 4.3 2.5
Latino 2.4 3.4 Japanese 1.8 2.1
White 30.0 33.4 Korean 5.8 3.2
Other 1.4 2.9 Pacific Islander .2 .4
No Data 9.0 11.8 Vietnamese 4.3 2.3
International 1.8 8.5 Other Asian 3.0 1.4

Sixteen percent of the new fall 2001 undergraduates are immigrants. Among the immigrant students, Chinese are 35 percent, followed by white (14 percent), Korean (9 percent), and Vietnamese (7 percent).

Only 32 percent of the freshmen and 37 percent of the transfers came from families where both parents were born in the United States.

Immigrant Origins

Not born in the U.S., came:    
1-5 years ago 6 22
6-10 years ago 7 7
11-15 years ago 7 6
More than 15 years ago 5 7
Born in the U.S., with:    
Neither parent born in the U.S. 33 13
One parent born in the U.S. 9 8
Both parents born in the U.S. 32 37

The median reported parental income for the 2001 freshmen is $70,000. Twenty-five percent come from families who make $30,000 or less per year, and 25 percent come from families who make $120,000 or more per year. Chicanos ($30,000), and African Americans ($32,000) have the lowest median family incomes, and Whites (100,000) have the highest among the major ethnic groups.

The median parental income for California Community College transfer students, which are the vast majority of the transfers, is $50,000. Twenty-five percent of the registrants come from families making $22,000 or less, and 25 percent come from families making $90,000 or more per year. About a third of the California Community College registrants do not provide parental income data; therefore, these data are not as reliable as the freshman data.

Of the new freshmen, 46 percent come from families in which at least one parent has a post-graduate degree or post-graduate study. About 28 percent of the transfers come from families in which neither parent has any college experience.

There are significant differences in parental education by ethnic group among freshmen. For example, 68 percent of the Chicano freshmen have fathers with a high school diploma or less in contrast to 38 percent for African Americans, 22 percent Asians, and 7 percent for White freshmen.

Among freshmen 79 percent of the fathers of White students have at least a four year college degree compared to 66 percent for Asian, 38 percent for African American, and 18 percent for Chicano.

Most of the fall 2001 freshmen come from California (91 percent). Los Angeles County provides 25 percent of the new freshmen, whereas 28 percent of the new freshmen are from four Bay Area counties: Santa Clara (9 percent), Alameda (9 percent), Contra Costa (6 percent), and San Francisco (4 percent). Seven percent are from other states, with no state other than Texas (1 percent) providing as much as one percent. Two percent are from foreign countries.

Transfers are more likely than freshmen to be from the Bay Area. Alameda County provides 17 percent of the new transfers, followed by Contra Costa (10 percent), Santa Clara (9 percent) and San Francisco (9 percent). These four counties provide 45 percent of the California community college transfers, whereas Los Angeles County provides 15 percent. Four percent are from foreign countries.

Most of the new freshmen (85 percent) come from public high schools with 15 percent from private high schools. For the transfers, most (90 percent) come from California community colleges, four percent from other UC campuses, five percent from other four-year colleges, and two percent from non-California community colleges.


For the new freshmen the uncapped high school grade point average is 4.00 at the 25th percentile and 4.42 at the 75th percentile. (Starting in the fall of 1998 the high school grade point average used for admission includes additional points for honors courses, resulting in grade point averages higher than 4.00.) The 25th percentile SATI-Total score is 1180 and the 75th percentile score is 1420. The new transfers have a transfer grade point of 3.49 at the 25th percentile and 3.90 at the 75th percentile.

New undergraduates generally think that they are well prepared for what will be required of them at Berkeley. For freshmen the ability to manage their finances, and reading with comprehension and speed are the areas of least confidence. Transfers are least confident about their ability to make effective oral presentations and their speaking skills. Overall, transfers are slightly more confident than freshmen about their preparation for Berkeley. The differences are the most pronounced in reading with comprehension and skills, managing finances, and effective study strategies and skills.

Self Rating of Preparation (Percent "Good" or "Excellent")

Overall preparation as you start Berkeley 78 83
Skills to do well in math and math related courses 77 70
Effective study strategies and skills 76 84
Writing effective essays and papers 65 71
Making effective oral presentations/speaking skills 65 64
Reading with comprehension and speed 64 70
Internet, web skills 77 81
Desktop computer skills 76 80
Using the library, accessing research information 67 71
Ability to cope with a competitive atmosphere 73 74
Ability to handle stress 73 74
Time management skills 66 72
Managing your finance 63 74

Forty percent of the new freshmen are "not that sure" or "not sure at all" about their choice of major. Freshmen (61 percent) are less sure than transfers (89 percent) that they will be able to get into the major of their choice.

Ninety-one percent of the freshmen and 83 percent of the transfers will own a computer when entering Berkeley in the fall. An additional six percent of the freshmen and nine percent of the transfers plan to buy a computer during the first year.

Twenty-three percent of the freshmen and 29 percent of the transfers report that English was not their first language.

Top Intended Majors

Business Administration 13 English 7
Molecular and Cell Biology 12 Molecular and Cell Biology 6
Psychology 6 Economics 6
Political Science 5 Psychology 5
Computer Science (L & S) 5 Business Administration 5

Sixty-two percent of the transfers and 46 percent of the freshmen expect to work part-time during the first year at Berkeley. Eighty-five percent of the freshmen and 82 percent of the transfers expect to work part-time after the first year.

Twenty-seven percent of the freshmen and transfers expect to contribute money to their parents to help pay bills or provide for other family members. Another 35 percent of the freshmen and 25 percent of the transfers are not sure about this.

Both freshmen (51 percent) and transfers (49 percent) are "very concerned" about finding affordable housing while a student at Berkeley.

Personal Concerns (Percent "Very Concerned" or "Somewhat Concerned")

Being overwhelmed, my first semester, with all the things I will be expected to do 86 84
Getting the kind of academic advising that I will need 84 81
Finding affordable housing while I am a student at Berkeley 84 76
Getting the career and professional advising that I will need 84 79
Being able to balance academic and social activities 82 70
Being able to make the kind of friends I want 73 63
My personal safety in and around the city of Berkeley 72 62
Getting into my first choice of major 71 56
Financing my education at Berkeley 71 81
Getting the personal counseling that I might need 70 68
Being able to maintain good health 65 60
Being able to cope with expectations of parents and family 61 48
Being away from family and friends, being "homesick" 57 37

Thirty-nine percent of the transfers and 35 percent of the freshmen reported that they experience pain, numbness, tingling, or other discomfort in the hands, wrists or arms if they use the computer for several hours at a time.

Eight percent of the transfers and 5 percent of the freshmen report currently receiving medical or mental health care for a chronic health condition.

Of those who need care for a chronic condition, 54 percent of the freshmen and 48 percent of the transfers anticipate that they will use the University Health Services and a private health care facility to manage their condition. Twenty-one percent of the transfers and 15 percent of the freshmen report that they will only use the University Health Services. Thirty-two percent of both freshmen and transfers will use only a private health care facility.

Fourteen percent of the transfers and 10 percent of the freshmen think that they will need counseling for social or emotional issues at some time during their stay at Berkeley. Thirty-four percent of the freshmen and 32 percent of the transfers are not sure.

Highest Degree Planned

Bachelors (BA, BS) 11 10
Academic Masters (MA, MS) 20 25
Professional Masters (MSW, ML) 5 3
Business (MBA) 13 10
Doctorate (Ph.D., Ed.D.) 28 30
Medical (MD, OD, DDS) 14 9
Law (LLB, JD) 9 12

More freshmen than transfers anticipate either no loans (35 percent versus 29 percent) or loans of $20,000 or more (25 percent versus 15 percent). More transfers (56 percent) then freshmen (41 percent) anticipate loan totals of less than $20,000.

Anticipated Loan Indebtedness at the End of Undergraduate Education

None 35 29
Less than $5,000 9 13
$5,000-9,999 10 17
$10,000-14,999 11 16
$15,000-19,999 11 10
$20,000 or more 25 15

Fifty-two percent of those respondents who entered as freshmen and 28 percent of those who entered as transfers are "not that sure" or "not sure at all" if the career they have chosen at this time will still be the one they will aspire to by the time of graduation.

Top Intended Occupations

Physician 11 Lawyer/Judge 10
Business Executive 8 College Professor 8
Lawyer/Judge 7 Physician 6
Engineer 6 Engineer 5
Architect 5 Business Executive 5

The information in this report comes primarily from responses to the 2001 Survey of New Students (3539 matched out of 5574, a 63 percent response rate); OSR's Undergraduate Admissions Statistics, Fall 2001; and OSR's Client Server student data system.

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