WELS Baseline Survey of Freshmen Entering Western in the Fall, 2010

John Krieg, Western Washington University
Beth Hartsoch, Western Washington University
Linda Clark, Western Washington University
Grant Fosheim, Western Washington University


The Fall, 2010 Baseline Survey of Freshmen Entering Western continues the Office of Survey Research’s (OSR) efforts to collect information on all students prior to the start of their academic careers at Western Washington University. This survey represents the initial contact in a longitudinal process that makes possible additional inquiries of students at the end of their sophomore year, when they graduate from the university, and one to two years after graduation. The Freshmen Survey is designed with three purposes in mind: (1) to provide baseline observations of students prior to their Western experience which can be used to forecast and enhance student success; (2) to provide data that can assist university assessment and accreditation services; and (3) to assess student needs based upon their self-reported characteristics, perceptions and concerns. To accomplish these purposes, the Freshmen Survey integrates questions into five major sections: Pre-collegiate engagement and experiences; the college application process; familiarity and comfort with Western; academic skills, goals, and expectations; and expenses and employment. The questions on the Freshmen Survey were a mixture of open-ended, numerical, and multiple choice responses. This report lists all questions and reports basic descriptive statistics from questions which lend themselves to numerical analysis. Responses to the open-ended questions are available upon request. OSR used a mixture of online and telephone survey methodologies to obtain responses. Incoming freshmen who attended Western’s Summerstart program were provided an opportunity to complete this survey as part of their Summerstart experience. Students not attending Summerstart and those who chose not to complete the survey while at Summerstart were invited to complete the survey online. E-mails were initially sent to the student’s external e-mail address. After the initial e-mail, OSR sent e-mail reminders to non-responder