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The View From Here: How The Freshman Experience Looks To Young Women At Nc State University

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Retention: Keeping the Women Students

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.1187.1 - 8.1187.9



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Paper Authors

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Joni Spurlin

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Elizabeth Parry

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Laura Bottomley

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 1392

The View from Here: How the Freshman Experience Looks to Young Women at NC State University

Laura Bottomley, Joni Spurlin, Elizabeth Parry NC State University


Many things about the transition from high school to college are different when viewed from the perspective of a female student compared to a male. From the interface with faculty and advisors to the diversity in individual classrooms, the same actual experience is perceived and internalized by each student from a perspective informed by his or her own previous experience. This paper will look at data collected from surveys and focus groups of College of Engineering students disaggregated by gender. The goal of collecting and analyzing this type of data is to discover whether certain aspects of the freshman experience can have impact on the success and retention rates of female students in the College of Engineering.


Women have comprised about 20% of each entering class in the College of Engineering for the last several years. Traditional recruiting methods are not sufficient to increase that number, and while non-traditional methods are being developed and applied, retention of female students becomes an even more important issue. Data collected over the past several years have also shown that, although females are graduating at a higher rate than their male colleagues, they are leaving the College of Engineering to do it (see figure 1 for an example cohort).

In each cohort women are graduating from the College of Engineering at lower rates. Their cognitive variables, however, tend to exceed that of the male students. In any given semester, the overall average GPA of the women students in a cohort tends to exceed that of the males.

Another way of looking at retention is to examine the number of students in a cohort retained from year to year prior to graduation, see figure 2.

Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright (c) 2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Spurlin, J., & Parry, E., & Bottomley, L. (2003, June), The View From Here: How The Freshman Experience Looks To Young Women At Nc State University Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--12557

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