The Post-Pandemic Class of 2025: Freshman Survey

Reading Time: 14 minutes

Issue 6, Volume 112

By Morris Raskin, Karen Zhang 

Cover Image

With the first freshman class shaped by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic entering Stuyvesant in-person this year, The Spectator conducted its annual freshman survey to gauge the Class of 2025’s demographics, identity, lifestyle, and more. Here is what we found.

Part A: Demographic Information

In line with demographic trends of recent years, 78.2 percent of the incoming freshman class identify as Asian. Of the rest, 19.9 percent identify as white, 4.9 percent identify as Hispanic or Latinx, 2.4 percent identify as Black, and 2.0 percent identify as an option not stated on the list. It is important to note that students were given the option to select more than one ethnicity, so those of mixed descent were able to select both applicable races.

The gender breakdown of the Class of 2025 shows a slight lean toward female students over male students, with a 48.6 to 48.4 percent split respectively. While many perceive Stuyvesant to be a majority male institution, as it has been in many years past, it seems that the Class of 2025 has defied this presumption. Of the students that chose neither male nor female, 0.9 percent identified as non-binary, one percent were unsure or questioning, and the remaining 0.4 percent didn’t identify with any of the available choices.

The religious breakdown of this year’s class is particularly striking. A majority of the incoming class identify as atheists, with 53.6 percent of students adhering to this belief set. When compared to figures in the past, this number is noticeably high. As freshmen, this year’s senior class (’22) was only composed of 35 percent atheists, indicating an 18 percent increase over the four years.

In terms of middle schools attended, 52.8 percent of the freshman class attended a selected public school or Gifted & Talented programs—schools that are traditionally feeder schools to specialized high schools. 40.6 percent attended their zoned public school and a small minority attended either a private or parochial school—6 and 0.4 percent respectively. While this is in line with previous demographics, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s recent announcement of phasing out G&T programs from NYC public schools may change these numbers in the coming years.

Part B: Academic Information

In adherence to Stuyvesant’s STEM-centric reputation, over two-thirds of incoming freshmen indicated that their favorite subject was either math or science—42 and 25.2 percent respectively—with a noticeable gap between the two subjects. Of the students who prefer the humanities, 14.4 percent favored English while 9.7 percent preferred history.

With rigorous academics and a wide breadth of AP classes and electives to take, Stuyvesant also possesses a strong college-centric culture. When asked about the university that they think they will attend, the majority of students (60.1 percent) agreed or strongly agreed that they think they might attend an Ivy League University or another elite university while 34.6 percent stayed neutral and 5.3 percent disagreed. This is in line with the college culture at Stuyvesant, where students often aspire to attend the highest and most prestigious institutions.

Another tentpole of Stuyvesant’s reputation is a penchant for sleep deprivation. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, teenagers 13 to 18 years old should receive at least eight hours of sleep per night. While 38.6 percent of incoming freshmen reported getting seven to eight hours per night, 27.4 percent reported receiving seven or fewer hours of sleep a night. Poor sleep habits can be attributed to many factors for middle schoolers––lengthy commutes, copious amounts of homework, and leisure activities, to name a few. For this reason, this year’s sleep figures mirror those of years past. In the survey taken of this year’s senior class when they were freshmen, 31 percent reported receiving seven or fewer hours of sleep a night.

When asked to predict how much sleep students believe they will receive on an average night at Stuyvesant, the numbers shifted drastically downward. 33.3 percent of students believe that they will receive six to seven hours of sleep, 30.7 percent of students said five to six hours, and 13.3 percent chose fewer than five hours. Only a small minority (22.7 percent) chose within the range of seven or more hours.

Part C: Applying to Stuyvesant

The recent mayoral election, resulting in Eric Adams’s victory, has reignited the long-held debate over the merits of the SHSAT. When it comes to Stuyvesant students, though, opinions are largely split on the relationship between SHSAT scores and high school success. Only 4.2 percent of students strongly agree with the sentiment that there is a strong correlation between the two. However, only 7.5 percent of students feel that there is no strong connection between school success and the admissions test. The majority—44.1 percent—had no opinion on the relationship.

And when studying for the SHSAT, almost half of the students attended preparatory classes to prepare while 33.5 percent self-studied or used preparatory books to supplement their learning. While most attributed their decision to attending Stuyvesant entirely on their own (31.3 percent) or with a little pressure from their parents (43.1 percent), a little over a quarter of the students chose Stuyvesant due to enormous parental influence.

Part D: Identity/Lifestyle

According to a report by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. population saw an increase in time spent on leisure activities throughout the pandemic. As entire cities were hunkered inside for months on end, more people spent time on activities such as playing video games or watching television.

While these pandemic effects have subsided at the outset of the school year, the trend surrounding leisure still rang true. Fewer than 20 percent of students reported engaging in less than one hour of these activities on an average school day, which included YouTube viewing, video games, and television. 10 percent of students indicated that they typically spent at least four hours—one-sixth of their day—engaging in one of these activities.

As Facebook culture is widespread among Stuyvesant, in which students frequently communicate through Messenger or posting on the Dear Incoming Facebook groups for questions or advice, there is notably low usage of Facebook among the freshman body. 42.7 percent of the students do not have a Facebook account, with a subset of 13.3 percent who do not have any social media accounts. Due to Stuyvesant’s widespread usage of Facebook, this number might grow significantly across the freshman class’s four years. However, with new modes of communication like Discord quickly taking center stage, Facebook might see a dip in screen time.

In accordance with the 67.2 percent tally of students that reported either math or science as their favorite subjects, 62.4 percent of students indicated that they plan to join a STEM-related or academic extracurricular activity during their time at Stuyvesant. An overwhelming 68.3 percent of students also indicated that they hope to join a STEM-oriented field in the workforce. Following was just a mere 12.2 percent of students who hope to go into finance, business, or management, 8.6 percent in the humanities fields—which also encompasses the social sciences—and 7.5 percent in the arts.

When it comes to drug usage at Stuyvesant, the vast majority of students are averse to the prospect of nearly any illicit substances. However, a notably low percentage of students were opposed to the use of study drugs, such as Adderall or Ritalin, by high school students, especially in comparison to other substances. While 84.1 percent of the incoming class indicated that they were at least somewhat opposed to the use of marijuana by high schoolers and 91.2 percent were against the use of e-cigarettes or vaping devices, only 67.9 percent of the Class of 2025 responded that they were at least somewhat opposed to the usage of study drugs. It is important to note that it wasn’t indicated whether these drugs were prescribed in this hypothetical situation, which may have skewed the results.

As the pandemic brought on a slew of negative effects—from isolation to job loss and sickness—as well as a year of online learning, a Kaiser Family Foundation study reports that more than 25 percent of high school students reported that their emotional or mental health worsened during this time period. As mental health concerns were exacerbated at Stuyvesant during the winter of the 2020-2021 remote learning school year, The Spectator asked the freshman body whether they think about their mental health regularly. 47.9 percent of students said that they do, compared to the 19.7 percent who said they do not.

Part E: Academic Honesty

In comparison to the freshman survey conducted four years ago, the Class of 2025 marks an uptick in reports of past academic dishonesty. While, in the freshman survey of the Class of 2022, 54 percent of students reported having never engaged in an act of academic dishonesty, this year sees more than an eight percent drop in this figure.

One possible explanation for this phenomenon is the habits created by virtual learning. With little teacher oversight and ample access to online resources, remote learning provided an environment for easy academic dishonesty. In an in-person classroom, it is possible that the number of students engaging in academic dishonesty will fall because of its reduced convenience.

Part F: COVID-19

Back in May of 2021, the CDC recommended the COVID-19 vaccine for teenagers aged 12 to 15, allowing the incoming freshman class to get vaccinated. Since then, 92.3 percent of all incoming freshmen have received at least one dose of the vaccine, with 88.3 percent of students among them being fully vaccinated.

Of those who are not vaccinated, 5.3 percent indicated that they do have plans to. However, the 2.4 percent who plan not to provide a range of reasons for this decision. The majority of them, 52.9 percent, refrained from the vaccine due to parental skepticism. However, 23.5 percent of unvaccinated freshmen indicated that personal skepticism has prevented them from receiving their doses.

As the Class of 2025 navigated through the high school admissions process with a pandemic looming over them—from taking the SHSAT to choosing their schools, the pandemic did contribute to some students’ decisions on where to attend high school. One chose Stuyvesant because they trusted it more than their prior school in terms of handling COVID-19. A few students found more time to research different high schools and study for the SHSAT exam during quarantine, influencing them to apply to specialized high schools. For some, commuting was a factor that they weighed heavily due to crowded transit and how far they wanted their high school to be.

Part A: Demographic Information

Choose the ethnicity that best describes your background:

a) Asian: 78.2%

b) Black: 2.4%

c) Hispanic or Latinx: 4.9%

d) White: 19.9%

e) Other: 2.0%

Which of the following best describes your legal status in the United States? (reminder that this survey is completely anonymous)

a) U.S. Citizen (Passport): 85.7%

b) Permanent Resident (Green Card +Passport of another country): 6.4%

c) Dual Citizenship (Passport of two countries): 6.8%

d) Visa: 0.5%

e) Other: 0.5%

Choose the religion that you identify with:

a) Christianity: 17.0%

b) Islam: 12.2%

c) Judaism: 6.0%

d) Hinduism: 3.7%

e) Agnosticism/Atheism: 53.6%

f) Buddhism: 3.1%

g) Other: 4.4%

How would you classify your family's socioeconomic status?

a) Lower/working class: 20.7%

b) Middle class: 44.2%

c) Upper middle class: 16.5%

d) Upper class: 2.7%

e) Unsure: 15.9%

The highest level of education either of my parents/guardians received was:

a) Middle School: 5.1%

b) High School: 21.9%

c) Associates Degree: 8.6%

d) Bachelor’s Degree: 33.1%

e) Post-College Education: 31.3%

What type of middle school did you attend?

a) Selective Public School or Gifted & Talented Program (NEST+m, Mark Twain, etc.): 52.8%

b) Zoned Public School 40.6%

c) Private School: 6.0%

d)Parochial School: 0.6%

I identify as the following gender:

a) Male: 48.4%

b) Female: 48.6%

c) Non-binary: 0.9%

d) Unsure/Questioning: 1.7%

e) Other: 0.4%

I most closely identify as:

a) Heterosexual: 73.3%

b) Homosexual: 2.0%

c) Bisexual: 8.0%

d) Asexual: 3.7%

e) Unsure/Questioning: 9.7%

f) Other: 3.3%

My immigrant status is:

a) I am an immigrant: 10.6%

b) My parents are immigrants: 67.8%

c) My grandparents are immigrants: 8.0%

d) Other: 9.7%

e) I don’t know: 3.8%

I frequently participated in my classes in middle school:

a) Strongly disagree: 4.4%

b) Disagree: 10.1%

c) Neutral: 21.9%

d) Agree: 33.1%

e) Strongly agree: 30.5%

Part B: Academic Information

I frequently participated in my classes in middle school:

a) Strongly disagree: 4.4%

b) Disagree: 10.1%

c) Neutral: 21.9%

d) Agree: 33.1%

e) Strongly agree: 30.5%

I consider myself to be aware of current events:

a) Strongly disagree: 1.8%

b) Disagree: 9.7%

c) Neutral: 29.3%

d) Agree: 46.3%

e) Strongly agree: 13.0%

I have a strong work ethic:

a) Strongly disagree: 2.6%

b) Disagree: 7.5%

c) Neutral: 28.5%

d) Agree: 41.9%

e) Strongly agree: 19.6%

Approximately how much sleep did you get on any given school night in middle school?

a) Fewer than 6 hours: 4.9%

b) 6 - 7 hours: 22.5%

c) 7 - 8 hours: 38.6%

d) 8 - 9 hours: 27.8%

e) More than 9 hours: 6.2%

Approximately how much sleep do you expect to get on any given school night at Stuyvesant?

a) Fewer than 5 hours: 13.3%

b) 5 - 6 hours: 30.7%

c) 6 - 7 hours: 33.3%

d) 7 - 8 hours: 19.4%

e) More than 8 hours: 3.3%

My favorite subject is:

a) Math: 42.0%

b) Science: 25.2%

c) English: 14.4%

d) History: 9.7%

e) Other: 8.6%

I spent ___ hours studying on an average night in middle school:

a) Less than 0.5 hours: 28.5%

b) .5 - 1 hours: 31.8%

c) 1 - 2 hours: 26.3%

d) 2 - 3 hours: 9.0%

e) More than 3 hours: 4.4%

After I graduate from Stuyvesant, I think I might attend an Ivy League University or another elite university.

a) Strongly disagree: 1.6%

b) Disagree: 3.7%

c) Neutral: 34.6%

d) Agree: 38.9%

e) Strongly agree: 21.2%

By the end of my Stuyvesant career, I predict that I will be among:

a) Top 10% of my class: 16.1%

b) Top 25% of my class: 40.6%

c) Top 50% of my class: 37.1%

d) Bottom 50% of my class: 6.2%

Part C: Applying to Stuyvesant

When did you start studying for the SHSAT?

a) I did not study for the SHSAT: 3.8%

b) Less than one month before the exam: 6.6%

c) 1 - 4 months before the exam: 14.4%

d) 4 - 6 months before the exam: 15.5%

e) 6 months - 1 year before the exam: 31.3%

f) More than 1 year before the exam: 28.3%

Which best describes the method of studying you used for the SHSAT?

a) I did not study for the SHSAT: 3.3%

b) Self-study/Preparatory books: 33.5%

c) Preparatory class (not SHSI): 47.9%

d) SHSI preparatory school: 5.7%

e) One-on-one tutoring: 7.5%

f) Other: 2.2%

To what extent did a parent/guardian pressure you to come to Stuyvesant?

a) Not at all: 31.3%

b) Some pressure: 43.1%

c) A lot of pressure: 16.6%

d) It was entirely their decision: 9.0%

I think there will be a positive correlation between my SHSAT score and my academic success at Stuyvesant.

a) Strongly disagree: 7.5%

b) Disagree: 17.9%

c) Neutral: 44.1%

d) Agree: 26.3%

e) Strongly agree: 4.2%

Part D: Identity/Lifestyle

I am opposed to the use of marijuana by high school students.

a) Strongly disagree: 2.0%

b) Disagree: 4.0%

c) Neutral: 9.9%

d) Agree: 23.0%

e) Strongly agree: 61.1%

I am opposed to the use of e-cigarettes/vapes by high school students.

a) Strongly disagree: 2.0%

b) Disagree: 1.6%

c) Neutral: 5.1%

d) Agree: 19.7%

e) Strongly agree: 71.5%

I am opposed to the use of study drugs (prescription stimulants like Adderall or Ritalin) by high school students.

a) Strongly disagree: 2.0%

b) Disagree: 6.6%

c) Neutral: 23.6%

d) Agree: 21.6%

e) Strongly agree: 46.3%

I am opposed to the use of hard drugs (cocaine, opiates, etc) by high school students.

a) Strongly disagree: 2.4%

b) Disagree: 0.5%

c) Neutral: 2.6%

d) Agree: 12.2%

e) Strongly agree: 82.3%

I am opposed to sexual activity by high school students.

a) Strongly disagree: 4.4%

b) Disagree: 7.1%

c) Neutral: 32.2%

d) Agree: 18.6%

e) Strongly agree: 37.7%

How many cups of coffee do you drink on an average day?

a) None: 85.9%

b) 1 cup of coffee: 11.3%

c) 2 cups of coffee: 2.2%

d) 3+ cups of coffee: 2.8%

My mental health is something I think about regularly.

a) Strongly disagree: 4.0%

b) Disagree: 15.7%

c) Neutral: 32.4%

d) Agree: 33.5%

e) Strongly agree: 14.4%

How many hours do you spend watching TV (including Netflix), gaming, or watching YouTube on a typical school day?

a) Less than 1 hour: 19.9%

b) 1 - 2 hours: 36.0%

c) 2 - 3 hours: 21.6%

d) 3 - 4 hours: 12.4%

e) More than 4 hours: 10.1%

How many hours a day do you spend on Facebook?

a) Less than 1 hour: 55.2%

b) 1 - 3 hours: 1.8%

c) More than 3 hours: 0.2%

d) I don't have any social media accounts, including Facebook: 13.3%

e) I do not have a Facebook but I do have other social media accounts: 29.4%

Choose the extracurriculars you will be most likely to dedicate yourself to in the next 4 years. Leave this blank if you do not see yourself participating in extracurriculars.

a) STEM/Academic Clubs: 62.4%

b) Sports: 50.9%

c) Speech and Debate: 24.2%

d) Student Government: 16.7%

e) Publications: 21.3%

f) Community Service: 44.5%

g) Arts: 37.2%

When I am older, I hope to go into ___. Leave this blank if you are not sure.

a) STEM-related fields: 68.3%

b) Humanities: 8.6%

c) Finance: 12.2%

d) Arts: 7.5%

e) Vocational Work: 0.5%

f) Other: 2.9%

Part E: Academic Honesty

I would sacrifice a good grade to preserve my academic honesty (i.e. even if I could cheat, I would not because it is immoral).

a) Strongly disagree: 2.4%

b) Disagree: 6.4%

c) Neutral: 19.6%

d) Agree: 43.7%

e) Strongly agree: 28.0%

In middle school, I partook in some form of academic dishonesty:

a) Frequently: 1.6%

b) Sometimes: 11.5%

c) Rarely: 41.0%

d) Never: 45.9%

I think that academic dishonesty (in any form) can be justified.

a) Strongly disagree: 13.2%

b) Disagree: 33.5%

c) Neutral: 38.8%

d) Agree: 10.8%

e) Strongly agree: 3.8%

Part F: COVID-19

Have you received the COVID-19 vaccine?

a) Yes, I have received my first shot: 4.0%

b) Yes, I have received both shots: 88.3%

c) No, but I plan to: 5.3%

d) No, I do not plan to: 4.0%

If you answered "No I do not plan to" to the previous question, why?

a) Parental skepticism: 52.9%

b) Personal skepticism: 23.5%

c) Medical reason: 11.8%

d) Other: 11.8%