Like most incoming Harvard classes, the Class of 2017 is among the College's most diverse ever. Men expect to earn more money than women do. Recruited athletes tend to identify as heterosexual and either white or African-American. And most of the class arrives in Cambridge as seasoned suburbanites, many of whom are intent on remaining in the Northeast. The Crimson’s survey of nearly 80 percent of the freshman class shows that while the College’s claims of diversity ring true, many of the fresh faces on campus flock together in a predictable fashion.
Read Part I of The Crimson's four-part series on the freshman survey here.
Respondents were evenly split between men and women. The College announced last spring that 53.4 percent of the admitted Class of 2017 was male, a slight discrepancy that the press release attributed to a higher number of male applicants than female applicants.
White students make up the largest portion of the Class of 2017—62 percent of respondents identified as such. Twenty-nine percent of respondents identified as Asian or Indian, the second-greatest subset of the population. The College reported last spring that the admitted Class of 2017 is 19.9 percent Asian-American, 11.5 percent African-American, 11.5 percent Latino, 2.2 percent Native American, and 0.5 percent Native Hawaiian, with foreign students making up 10.3 percent of admitted students.
Recruited athletes represent 12 percent of the Class of 2017, and among non-recruited students, 9 percent plan to walk on to a varsity team. Harvard does not offer athletic scholarships to its recruited athletes or give out merit scholarships of any kind.
Recruited Athletes by Ethnicity
Students of white or African-American ethnicities are overrepresented among recruited athletes. While white students make up 62 percent of the freshman student body, according to the survey, they make up 79 percent of freshman recruited athletes. Similarly, while African-American students constitute 10 percent of freshmen, they represent 13 percent of recruited athletes in the class. On the other hand, recruited athletes of Asian descent are an underrepresented demographic. While Asian students constitute 25 percent of the freshman population, they make up just 13 percent of recruited athletes in the freshman class.
Ten percent of the incoming freshman class identified as non-heterosexual. In comparison, 16 percent of male graduating seniors and 13 percent of female graduating seniors surveyed by The Crimson last spring said they identified as non-heterosexual.
Oldest children constitute 38 percent of the incoming freshman class—the most represented birth order category. Youngest children came next at 30 percent, and middle children and only children each made up 16 percent of the class.
Sixty-one percent of surveyed freshmen said they attended a public high school, with the overwhelming majority of them at a non-charter school. Thirty-eight percent said they went to a private secondary school, with three quarters of those respondents saying they attended a non-denominational private school.
Forty-one percent of incoming freshmen come from the Northeast, with Westerners, Midwesterners, Southeasterners, and Southwesterners following in descending order. An additional 11 percent of surveyed freshmen hail from abroad.
Mouseover region to see data.41.1%of students are from the Northeast.73.4%of students plan to live there after college.88.7%of students from the Northeast expect to return after graduating.11.7%of students are from the Southeast.2.5%of students plan to live there after college.12.2%of students from the Southeast expect to return after graduating.7.8%of students are from the Southwest.1.3%of students plan to live there after college.10.0%of students from the Southwest expect to return after graduating.13.8%of students are from the Midwest.2.6%of students plan to live there after college.18.6%of students from the Midwest expect to return after graduating.14.5%of students are from the West.10.7%of students plan to live there after college.42.2%of students from the West expect to return after graduating.
Sixty-five percent of surveyed freshmen come from a suburban community, with urban and rural residents following at 27 and 8 percent, respectively. In comparison, 71 percent of Americans surveyed in the 2010 U.S. census reported that they live in cities, 10 percent in suburbs, and 19 percent in rural regions.
Anticipated Starting Salary
Half of the Class of 2017 expects to earn a starting salary of between $50,000 and $90,000 right after graduation. The majority of the remaining half expects salaries below $50,000 that first year.
Anticipated Starting Salary by Gender
Surveyed male freshmen anticipate a significantly higher starting salary than their female counterparts across income brackets.
At the lower end, 13 percent of women and 6 percent of men said they anticipate making less than $30,000 immediately after graduation. In comparison, 10 percent of female graduating seniors and 9 percent of male graduating seniors surveyed by The Crimson last spring reported a starting salary below $30,000.
At the upper end, 3 percent of female freshman respondents and 9 percent of male freshman respondents said they anticipate earning more than $110,000 immediately after graduation. In the Class of 2013, 2 percent of females and 8 percent of males reported a starting salary in that income bracket.
Comparison of Anticipated Employment Field in 2017 and 2027
Many surveyed freshmen said they expect their immediate post-graduate job to be different from their career 10 years down the line. For example, while just 6 percent of surveyed freshmen said they plan to work in the health field right after graduation, nearly a quarter of them said they anticipate doing so in 2027.
Anticipated Employment Field by Gender
Surveyed female freshmen are less likely than their male counterparts to see themselves in a career related to entrepreneurship or finance. They were more likely than men to envision themselves in a career in nonprofits and public service, health, and media or publishing.
Anticipated Career by Secondary School Type
Surveyed freshmen who attended public high school were more likely than their private-school counterparts to say they plan to pursue a long-term career in education, professional school, and government or politics. Private school students, on the other hand, were more likely to report interest in careers in business or entrepreneurship; finance; nonprofit or public service work; and arts, sports, and entertainment.