Data on Graduating Seniors
1998- Fall 2000)
A few of the highlights of the graduating senior survey data
are described below. For more information, please contact the
Chair of the Departments Assessment Committee, Charles
Varano at firstname.lastname@example.org
The graduating seniors are overwhelming women (80%), white (63%),
and between 22-26 years of age (74%). About a fourth are nonwhite
and older than 28 years of age. One-third of the graduates received
all or most of their financial support from their families,
others received varying degrees of support from scholarships,
loans, and work. Nearly a third received some support from loans,
while 58% received support from work, and only 18 percent received
support from scholarships. The majority (72%) transferred to
CSUS from a community college or from another CSU campus, while
only 18 percent started CSUS as freshmen. Over half (57%) report
an overall GPA in all course work of 3.00 or higher. About 25
percent report a GPA of less than 2.80 in all college course
work. So about a fourth of the graduating seniors have performed
at the average or below as measured by GPA. (The average GPA
for juniors and seniors at CSUS is around 2.75).
A majority (61%) of the seniors felt little or no connection
to campus life. Nearly 60 percent were not active participants
in any campus group or organization. Only 9% felt they were
considerably part of campus life. Only a fifth (22%) participated
in or attended a meeting of the Sociology Student Association.
Seniors (68%) also reported that events in their lives interfered
with their college performance and progress toward graduation.
Some of the events listed were death in family, illness, depression,
unmotivated, work demands, having a baby, getting married, etc.
On the other hand 70 percent mentioned events that facilitated
their college performance and progress toward graduation. Some
of these events were help from the CSUS testing center, good
professors, intense desire to graduate, interesting classes,
and treatment for depression, etc.
Seventy-one percent of seniors are extremely or somewhat clear
about their career goals. Nearly a third are not. Thirty-five
percent expect to go on to graduate school immediately after
graduation and 46% expect to get a job.
How much time did they spend working and how much time studying?
Nearly 40 percent of graduating seniors worked 25 or more hours
per week, while 19% did not work at all. The average was 20
hours per week. If seniors were enrolled in any given semester
for 9 or fewer units, they spent on average 8.0 hours per week
studying. If they were enrolled in 10-12 units during any given
semester, they spent on average 11.6 hours per week studying,
and if they were enrolled in 13 or more units during any given
semester, they spent on average 15.7 hours per week studying.
What are the perceptions of graduating seniors regarding
the extent to which the department's learning goals have been
Graduating seniors overwhelmingly believe that all of the department's
learning goals were somewhat or significantly attained. The
learning goals of "understanding social reality and society"
(98%); "knowledge about basic concepts" (98%); "understanding
how institutions like the family, education, and the economy
are interrelated" (98%); "understanding the significance
of variations by race, social class, gender, and age" (98%);
"ability to think critically about social events and to
present opposing viewpoints and alternative hypotheses on various
social issues" (96%); "research and statistical skills
for evaluating and gathering evidence about social life and
social relations" (98%); "knowledge about how the
self develops sociologically rather than psychologically (95%)
and "understanding the internal diversity of American society"
(88%) were the most significantly attained. The only learning
goals that was less significantly attained were "understanding
the place of American society in the international and global
world" (61%) and "basic computer skills necessary
to find, communicate, create and apply sociological knowledge
and information" (83%).
What are other key perceptions of graduating seniors in sociology?
Graduating seniors strongly believe that the sociology major
helped them to increase their basic and general education skills.
Over three-fourths believe that their skills in reading, writing,
statistics, critical thinking, computer use, interpersonal and
people management skills, and data analysis were to a great
or to some extent helped by being a sociology major. Strongest
support (to a great or to some extent) was given to the basic
skills of writing (91%), reading, (82%) critical thinking (98%)
and data analysis (87%). Thus graduating seniors believe that
courses in sociology helped them to think more critically and
to improve their ability to read, write and perform data analysis.
Graduates also strongly believe that they will use sociology
after graduation. Ninety-eight percent felt they would use it
a great deal or somewhat in their personal life, ninety-six
percent believe they will use it a great deal or somewhat in
their work, and ninety-four percent believe they will use it
in their civil life as participants in political parties, neighborhood
associations, advocacy groups, professional associations, and
Eighty-five percent somewhat or strongly agreed that the required
core courses in the major provided integration to the undergraduate
program. Over three-fourths of graduating seniors were somewhat
or very satisfied with the quality of instruction in sociology;
over 80% were somewhat or very satisfied with the courses they
took in sociology; and nearly 85 percent were somewhat or very
satisfied with the undergraduate sociology major. Nearly 80
percent would probably or definitely choose to major in sociology
if they had it to do over again.