This year, 1,245 students completed the second-annual Zeitgeist survey, an uptick of 42 respondents from last year’s inaugural questionnaire. This figure represents 48.7% of the students who were on campus this fall, according to the Fall 2019 Student Profile; however, students who were studying abroad were also invited to participate in the survey.
Participation across class years was roughly the same. The class of 2022 had the greatest number of participants, with 270 respondents.
Nearly 73% of respondents identified as white. Only 62% of domestic students in the Fall 2019 Student Profile identified themselves as white, which may indicate that the Zeitgeist survey results have a skew towards students who identify as white — though the student profile’s number does not take into account international students, who were reported in a separate racial or ethnic category.
The second-largest block of Zeitgeist respondents, at 10.4%, were students who identified as Asian, Native Hawaiian, or Pacific Islander. 5.4% of respondents identified as Hispanic or Latinx, and 2.9% of respondents identified as black or African American. 7.5% of respondents identified as biracial or multiracial.
As might be expected of a liberal arts institution, nearly a fourth (23.3%) of survey respondents had an interdisciplinary major, which includes environmental studies, international politics and economics and international and global studies. The next most popular major category was the social sciences at 22.1%, followed by majors in the natural sciences, with 17.8%, and humanities majors at 8.7%. One in five respondents (19.8%) were undecided about their course of study. 22.4% of respondents indicated having a second major. Economics was the most popular major with 105 respondents, followed by environmental studies with 91, political science with 69, neuroscience with 66 and computer science with 66.
Nearly 60% of respondents identified as cisgender females while only 36% of respondents identified as cisgender males. Less than 4% of students identified as a transgender male, transgender female, nonbinary, or felt that the options given did not define their gender. According to the Fall 2019 Student Profile, which used a binary classification of gender, 53% of students identified as female while 47% of students identified as male, indicating a skew in the Zeitgeist results towards cisgender female students. Over one in four students identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer or questioning.
Forty percent of Zeitgeist survey participants are on financial aid. Ten percent of respondents are first-generation college students, which is similar to the most recent admitted class’s profile at 11%.
Almost one in three respondents hail from New England states. One in five students is from New York, New Jersey or Pennsylvania. 13% are from the South, 12% are from Pacific states, 9% from the Midwest, and 5% are from Mountain states. Over half of respondents consider their hometowns to be suburban, 29% are from urban hometowns, and 18% from rural.
Half of the respondents attended a public high school, 31% attended a private high school, 11% attended boarding school and 5% a charter or magnet school.
One in ten respondents identified as religious; 28% considered themselves somewhat religious, and 60% did not consider themselves religious.