Dr. Dan Spencer (left) and Dr. Kristi Pearce (right) present a $100 gift certificate to the BHSU Bookstore to Jennifer Trouton, a freshman history major from Lead, won a drawing following completion of a survey. The survey was conducted to help faculty and administrators better understand the BHSU freshman class.

A survey of freshmen at BHSU revealed some interesting and useful information according to Dr. Kristi Pearce, dean of enrollment services. The survey was conducted to help faculty and administrators better understand the BHSU freshman class.

The survey was conducted in late 2006 and early 2007 under the direction of Dr. Dan Spencer, associate professor in the Department of Management and Marketing, with support from the Center for Tourism Research. The survey queried students about their personal characteristics, motivations for attending BHSU, and degree and career aspirations.

To encourage participation and express the faculty and administration’s appreciation for students’ participation, respondents were given BHSU souvenir pens and a chance to win a $100 gift certificate to the BHSU Bookstore. The winner of the drawing was Jennifer Trouton, freshman history major from Lead.

Questionnaires were completed by 426 freshmen living in BHSU residence halls last August and 128 off-campus freshmen via online and mail surveys conducted through January. The overall response rate to the survey was 76 percent.

For more information about the survey, contact Spencer at 642-6876 or DanSpencer@BHSU.edu.

Key findings from the survey were:

  • BHSU was the first choice of 70.8 percent of respondents and the second choice of an additional 21.7 percent of respondents.
  • Respondents on the average applied for admission to 1.51 colleges or universities other than BHSU. Over a third (39.3 percent) applied only to BHSU.
  • Eighty-three percent of respondents graduated from high school in 2006. Eighty-four percent graduated from a public high school, 12.9 percent were home schooled, and 3.6 percent graduated from a private or parochial high school.
  • Respondents other than those home schooled graduated from 201 different high schools in 22 states and two foreign countries More than two-thirds (68.4 percent) of respondents graduated from a high school or were home schooled in South Dakota. The top feeder high schools among respondents were Central High School in Rapid City (10.1 percent), Stevens High School in Rapid City (7.4 percent), Sturgis Brown High School in Sturgis (5.2%), and Spearfish High School (3.0 percent).
  • The average reported high school grade point average was 3.26. Nearly half (44 percent) reported having taken one or more advanced college preparatory courses in high school. The average reported composite ACT score was 21.88 (ACT scores nationally range from 1 to 36 and in 2006 averaged 21.1).
  • Respondents were presented with a list of 31 possible reasons for deciding to attend BHSU and asked to indicate on a scale from one (low importance) to seven (high importance) how important each reason was for them in their decision to attend BHSU. The reasons that received the highest mean ratings were: “high number of BHSU graduates who find jobs” (4.79), “outdoor recreation opportunities in the Black Hills” (4.73), “attractiveness of the BHSU campus” (4.72), “relatively small class sizes at BHSU” (4.69), “high probability of obtaining the personal attention I need from faculty and staff” (4.69), “attractiveness of Spearfish” (4.65), “BHSU offered the major I wanted” (4.56), “friendly faculty and staff” (4.36), “the cost of attending BHSU” (4.36), and “BHSU’s overall academic reputation” (4.01).
  • Over 70 percent of respondents visited BHSU prior to their decision to enroll at the university.
  • Thirty-six percent of respondents indicated that the highest academic degree  they intended to attain was a bachelor’s degree. An additional 19.5 percent  indicated that the highest academic degree they intended to obtain was a master’s degree, and an even higher percentage (27.8 percent) aspired to a doctorate. Thus, nearly half (47.3 percent) aspired to an advanced degree.
  • The majority (56.5 percent) of respondents stated that the highest degree they sought to obtain at BHSU was a bachelor’s degree; 15.5 percent sought to obtain a master’s degree at BHSU; and 15.9 percent sought to obtain an associate degree from BHSU.