A newly released survey a detailed picture of how Princeton students view their academic experience, with nine out of 10 voicing satisfaction with their professors. 

Students spend about 14 hours in class and 26 hours on coursework outside the classroom each week, said Michael Yaroshefsky ’12, former president of the Undergraduate Student Government, who led the Academic Life Total Assessment project. “Clearly, academics are a priority,” Yaroshefsky said. Among the other survey results:

  • Asked about the University’s grading policy, 56 percent of students said they opposed or strongly opposed it, while 41 percent expressed support or strong support.
  • Questioned about the psychological impact of their grades, 80 percent of students said there was strong or some impact, while 20 percent said there was little or no impact.
  • In courses that assign more than four hours of reading per week, students said they completed an average of 53 percent of the total, while those with less than four hours of assigned reading per week completed nearly 80 percent of the total.
  • Sixty percent of students said they were very or somewhat prepared for their independent work, but nearly a quarter of students said they were extremely or somewhat unprepared. Research skills and help in selecting an adviser ranked highest among the things students wanted. 

About half of all undergraduates responded to the survey. Based on the results, a USG committee offered recommen­dations to faculty members in areas ranging from the pass/D/fail option to better access to course evaluations.

The committee said students should be allowed to rescind their P/D/F decisions after learning their final grades, saying it would encourage ­students to put more effort into courses in which they had chosen the option.

Other suggestions included urging professors to limit new course material during the midterm exam period, encouraging more student collaboration on homework and in study groups, and having the USG oversee anonymous midterm course evaluations. 

The USG committee sought to back up its recommendations with research, Yaroshefsky said, but ultimately “faculty get to make the final decisions.”