UC Berkeley News
Press Release

UC Berkeley Press Release

Memo: UC Berkeley freshmen survey released

– A comprehensive survey of freshmen at the University of California, Berkeley, reveals a student body a bit more liberal and less religious than freshmen nationwide - but not by much.

The Fall 2004 Survey of Berkeley Freshmen tackles questions about abortion, the war in Iraq, and same-sex marriages to gauge political views, and provides national data for comparison. The survey conducted by the campus's Office of Student Research, also provides information about the students' religious beliefs, ethnicity, and finances.

In a special arrangement with the Berkeley Public Affairs' Web team, the survey administrators pulled 1972 freshmen survey data to compare current responses to the earlier data.

A story about the freshmen survey can be found at the UC Berkeley NewsCenter. It was written by Bonnie Powell of the UC Berkeley Public Affairs' Web team.

Among the survey findings:

* On political positions, 51 percent of freshmen described themselves as liberal, 37 percent as middle of the road and 12 percent as conservative. White women were the most liberal at 66 percent, compared to 52 percent of white men. That's a switch from 1972, when male liberals outnumbered female liberals.

* Although 75 percent of freshmen were born in the United States, 58 percent of them said both their parents were born outside the United States.

On their future academic plans, only 15 percent said they would stop at a bachelor's degree, 22 percent said they'd stop at a masters, 21.2 percent plan for a Ph.D., and the remainder plan medical, business and law postgraduate degrees.

* On their future academic plans, only 15 percent said they would stop at a bachelor's degree, 22 percent said they'd stop at a masters, 21.2 percent plan for a Ph.D., and the remainder plan medical, business and law postgraduate degrees.

* On a list of personal goals, 71 percent identified "raising a family" as essential or very important, 68 percent picked "being well off financially," and 69 percent picked "helping others who are in difficulty."