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Exit Interview

Greg Clarke

As the class of '08 headed down the homestretch toward the Wacky Walk, the Quad asked what was on their minds. One-third of the seniors responded to 27 questions, letting the yearbook editors know that they're glad they chose Stanford (86.4 percent), and that they're not so sure they're glad college is almost over (68.4 percent: “yes and no”). Here is our survey sampler.

What piece of advice do you wish you had received freshman year?
(Selected from write-in answers):
Avoid a four-class dorm!
Live in a four-class dorm.
Don't be scared of chemistry.
Don't be afraid of premeds.
Don't do all the assigned readings.
Don't sign up for too many extracurriculars!
Make a four-year plan early, and make more than one!
Professors don't bite, and they make great references.
Relax, take chances and have fun!


How often are you in touch (by phone or via electronic means) with your parents?
More than once a day 6.1%
Daily 18.9%
More than once a week 38.7%
Weekly 26.2%
Whenever 10.2%


Are you still friends with your frosh roommate?
Yes 51.9%
No 20.3%
We were never friends 11.5%
We'll still visit each other when we're 64 16.4%


I'm in the middle of a book I'm reading for pleasure.
Yes 44.2%
No 37.6%
Only one? 5.2%
My pleasure reading is all online 13%



The Bin of Draw Numbers Is More than Half Full

Stanford students, even the fuzzies, should be able to figure out whether their housing draw numbers are below or above average. (Two of their three upperclass years, they receive random numbers from 1 to 2,000; the third year, from 2,001 to 3,000.) But a positive attitude seems to spring eternal: 40 percent of seniors in the survey said they thought their Draw numbers were better than average; and 37 percent said about average. That leaves a mere 23 percent who thought their numbers were worse than average. Is it, numbers aside, that Stanford's wide range of options allows many students to be happy with their housing? (Roble Hall, the Mirrielees apartments and the Row houses topped the list of favorites in a separate question.) Or that Stanford students can't stand to be below average?



How much time do you spend on Facebook or MySpace?
2 or more hours a day 9.4%
10 minutes a day 49.7%
2 hours a week 17.9%
10 minutes a week 18.1%
My motto is face time, not Facebook 4.9%


What was your top source of stress as a college student?
Academics 42.4%
Figuring out what to do after college 24%
Extracurricular responsibilities 13.9%
Personal life 10.7%
Social life 4.6%
Finances 4.2%



survey-tacoSo, Where Do You Wanna Eat?

The Treehouse, a casual Mexican restaurant in the back of Tresidder Union, won the “favorite place to eat” lottery with 84 votes. More than 30 paid homage to the Coffee House, which at the time was expected to be closed forever. (Plans for its rebirth—complete with new menu and live entertainment—were announced in May.) One survey result may surprise those who graduated in the bad old days before Wilbur Dining's overhaul: the Marketplace at Wilbur got six votes.

How much money would make you feel rich? (Multiple answers allowed)
$50 in my wallet 6.4%
$500 a week in salary 10.1%
$5,000 in my bank account 15.9%
$50,000 in a money market account 19.9%
$500,000 in a trust fund 29%
$5 million in net worth 42.7%


Who gets it?
Paul Farmer, co-founder, Partners in Health, an international organization that advocates for the poor 45.3%
Sarah Silverman, comedian 8.6%
Wendy Kopp, founder and president, Teach for America 7.7%
Lawrence Lessig, Stanford law professor and copyright guru 7.2%
Michael Pollan, author, The Omnivore's Dilemma 7.2%
Zadie Smith, author, White Teeth 1.8%
Other 22.3%


Since starting college, I've had ____ romantic relationships.
Zero 16.7%
1 to 2 55.6%
3 to 5 22.4%
More than 5 5.3%


How often do you participate in religious activities?
At least once a week 14.7%
Once or twice a month 11.4%
At religious holidays 27.1%
Never 46.9%



survey computerMemorable Moments

The seniors were asked to speculate about what they'd remember best from their college years two decades from now. The sports category was easy: football's 2007 victories over USC and Cal. Parties? The most memorable ran the gamut from the elegantly dressed (Viennese Ball) to the scarcely clad (Exotic Erotic). George W. Bush's re-election in 2004 and the protest to block his campus visit stood out as notable political events for many, as did speeches by John Edwards, Chelsea Clinton, '01, and others who came to the Farm to campaign. Last but not least, the young woman who posed as a Stanford student and lived in campus housing for eight months stood out as the most memorable scandal, with Britney Spears's antics a distant second.



What's your plan after graduation?
Graduate school 38.9%
Employment 38.3%
Extended travel 4.4%
Volunteer or unpaid internship 2.8%
Starting a family 0.2%
No clue 15.4%


Who would make the best president? (Asked before Super Tuesday, February 5)
Barack Obama 52.9%
Hillary Clinton 23.5%
John McCain 5.3%
John Edwards 3.6%
Mitt Romney 2.1%
Rudy Giuliani 2.1%
Ron Paul 1.5%
Mike Huckabee 1.1%
Michael Bloomberg 1.1%
Dennis Kucinich 1.1%
Other 5.7%



The following did not appear in the print edition of Stanford.

Below are some reasons that might have influenced your decision to attend Stanford. How important was each reason in your decision to come here?

  Not important at all A little important Somewhat important Very important
My parents wanted me to come here. 38.5% 32.4% 20.9% 8.2%
My teacher/counselor advised me. 61.7% 22.5% 11.8% 4%
Stanford's academic reputation. 0.4% 0.8% 9.8% 89%
Stanford's reputation for its social activities. 18% 26.1% 35.9% 20%
I was offered financial assistance. 57.5% 8.4% 8.4% 25.6%
I wanted to live in this part of the country. 8.6% 17.4% 34.4% 39.6%
Not offered admission by my first-choice college. 81.8% 8.2% 6.7% 3.3%
Not offered aid by first-choice college. 96.1% 2% 1.2% 0.8%
Stanford graduates get good jobs. 9.9% 21.3% 36.6% 32.3%
I wanted to go to a school about the size of Stanford. 16.5% 22.8% 38.5% 22.2%
Ranking in national magazines. 11.8% 21.9% 37.1% 29.2%
Information from a website. 47.3% 28.1% 17.4% 7.2%
I was admitted through single-choice early action. 57.8% 5.1% 12.1% 25.1%
A visit to campus. 16.1% 13.7% 24% 46.2%


Will you want your child(ren) to attend Stanford?
Yes 59.5%
No 2.1%
I don't know 38.4%


What is your favorite memory from New Student Orientation?
Band Run 38.5%
Move-in Day 19.5%
Meeting your roommate 12.9%
First football game 11.6%
Fountain hopping 6.4%
Other 11.2%


How would you characterize your political views?
Far left 10%
Liberal 52.7%
Middle-of-the-road 29.1%
Conservative 8.1%
Far right 0.2%


Which, if any, degrees do you plan to pursue in the future?
MBA 26.5%
Master's degree in the arts and sciences 25.9%
PhD 23.5%
Master's degree in engineering 19.6%
Law degree 19.2%
Medical degree 16.9%
Other master's degree 12.4%
Second bachelor's degree 3.3%
Other degree or certificate 5.7%
Undecided about advanced degree 13.1%
No advanced degree 5.9%

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