Who are Montclair State students?
Here are a few facts to introduce our students. The first-year full-time class (as of fall '09 data) was 61 percent female, 39 percent male; 97 percent were from New Jersey. Eight percent were African-American, 5 percent were Asian, 19 percent were Latino/a, and 50 percent were white (with 13 percent not reporting). Just 1.4 students identified as international although according to 2006 data, 17 percent reported that their first language is not English.
For the fall 2009 incoming first-year class, the average SAT score was 1000 (494 verbal/507 math), and the average high school class rank was in the 67th percentile. About a third of incoming first-year students indicated that they received As in high school, and more than three-fourths indicated they received Bs or better. Yet, most spent 5 or fewer hours doing homework each week. Eighty-two percent were fulltime students, and 79 percent lived off-campus. Seventy-six percent were in the 18-24 age bracket, with 17% in the 25-34 range. Only 34 percent of students graduate from MSU within four years, although 62 percent of students will complete their undergraduate degree within six years. This suggests most of the remaining students do not complete their degrees, though perhaps they do complete them
elsewhere. These retention rates are better than what is found at most state universities like MSU.
MSU students are over-committed with work, school, family and other obligations, so you need to help them make school work a priority—ideally by requiring regular and accounted for assignments early and often. They are quite willing to try the game plan you introduce, if you introduce it quickly. They are not familiar with extensive homework, and they are experienced with high grades, so both of those expectations need to be directly addressed, with kindness, but also firmly.
All of our students, if asked, will tell you about troubles with parking, housing, or registering for classes; for many of them, being a fairly anonymous student at an institution serving 16,000 students is a new experience. There is little you can do but sympathize, and interestingly, many of the issues around “adjustment” are being addressed these days in a required course for all first-year students, “The New Student Experience.” This course, just one-credit in weight, is really devoted to helping students adjust to MSU life; it has been developed in response to data that such courses improve student retention.
The vast majority of first-year students are not only enrolled in “The New Student Experience,” but they are also part of a learning community in which a group of students are enrolled in two or three courses, thus giving students a chance to get to know each other better. As well, this may mean you have a group of 19 who have the same intended major or career.
All statistical information came from MSU’s Office of Institutional Research:
Updated June 2010