Freshman Survey Part I: Meet Harvard's Class of 2017

The Incoming Freshman Class By the Numbers

Part I of a four-part series on Harvard’s incoming Class of 2017, based on data collected by The Crimson in an online survey conducted in the month of August. Part II ran on Wednesday, Part III ran on Thursday, and Part IV of the series will run on Friday.

Men in Harvard’s incoming Class of 2017 expect to earn far more money after graduation than their female classmates expect to earn, according to a Crimson survey of the freshman class that arrived on campus last week.

While 48 percent of males expect to earn more than $70,000 in their first year after college, only 28 percent of females predicted they will earn more than $70,000.

The gap was also pronounced within lower and high expected income brackets. Thirteen percent of female respondents and 6 percent of male respondents said that they expect their first post-graduation job to earn them less than $30,000 per year. Nine percent of male respondents said they expected to earn more than $110,000, but only 3 percent of females indicated such high anticipated earnings.

The Crimson conducted an email survey of the freshman class from Aug. 5 to Aug. 28, and 1,311 incoming students responded—nearly 80 percent of the Class of 2017—although not all of them completed the survey. Questions covered demographics, college admissions, and attitudes and experiences related to studying, cheating, extracurricular activities, sex, drugs, mental health, politics, religion, and technology. We assume that a random sample of students responded to the survey and consequently ignore any selection bias.



Every year, the College touts the racial and geographic diversity of its admitted class. And largely, the results of The Crimson’s freshman survey align with the demographic data reported by the College.

Respondents were evenly split by gender. Sixty-two percent reported that they were white, 25 percent said they were Asian, and Latino and African-American students accounted for 11 and 10 percent of the class, respectively, with some students identifying as multiple ethnicities.

Most freshmen said that they were either the oldest or youngest child in their family, while 16 percent said that they were middle children. Sixteen percent said they did not have siblings.

Ninety percent of freshmen said that they identify as heterosexual, 4 percent said they identify as homosexual, 2 percent said they were bisexual, and 3 percent said they were “questioning.”

Of those respondents who identified as homosexual or bisexual, most said that they had come out sometime during high school, while about 18 percent reported doing so during middle school and 22 percent this past summer.

Recruited athletes make up 12 percent of the class, according to the survey, while another 9 percent of non-recruited freshmen said that they planned to walk on to a varsity team. Men were somewhat more likely to say they were a recruited athlete than women.

Recruited athletes were far more likely to say they identified as heterosexual than as another orientation. Only three recruited athletes said they were homosexual, bisexual, questioning, or other.

Recruited athletes, according to the survey, are also disproportionately white and African-American.