June 22, 2008
June 22, 2008
June 25, 2008
Women in Engineering
13.201.1 - 13.201.21
Analysis of Applicant Data to Improve Recruitment of Female and Underrepresented Engineering Students
Rowan University is known for its quality engineering programs. However, the numbers of female and minority students entering the engineering program are below national averages and have been declining over the past several years. Targeted recruiting efforts were proposed as an effective approach to reversing this trend. However, for targeted recruiting to be effective, a better understanding of the demographics of the applicant pool was needed. This paper reports the results of a detailed demographic analysis of applicants to the engineering program at Rowan University. The purpose of the analysis was to achieve a more complete understanding of the demographics of the applicants in order to identify data trends related to gender, ethnic background, Scholastic Achievement Test (SAT) test scores, high school attended, and socioeconomic factors. The data used in the study includes over 4800 applicants to the engineering program from 2000 to 2007. In addition to the factors noted above, the applicants were categorized as having applied, receiving an offer from the engineering program, and having made a deposit to attend. Key findings are presented for Applicant rates for women and minorities versus the offer and deposit rates for these groups; Gender trends in high schools from which there was a large applicant pool; Socioeconomic trends in applicants, offers, and deposits; Comparative trends in SAT scores among gender, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups.
Plans for targeted recruitment efforts resulting from this study are also presented.
Rowan University is a well-regarded comprehensive regional university located in New Jersey. The engineering program is highly ranked1 and has a proven record of retaining the female engineering students it attracts2. However, the number of female students entering the engineering program is below national averages and has been declining over the past several years, as shown in Figure 1. In the U.S. and Canada on average just under 20% of the students in engineering are female4. At Rowan University this percentage is below 15%. Over the past several years female enrollment in engineering has dropped at both Rowan University and nationally.
The low numbers are a concern to the faculty. In response, four approaches to increasing the female engineering population at Rowan University were proposed. These included improved advertising, direct outreach to female high school students, interaction with guidance counselors, and adjustments to admissions and financial aid processes. At the same time it was noted minority enrollment is also low and although not all of the causes are the same, these initiatives could also be adapted for improved minority recruitment.
ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2008 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015