With Their Whole Lives Ahead of Them FAQ
Q: Aren’t young adults, particularly those who are not in school, difficult to interview? How do you know your survey is accurate?
A: It is difficult to interview young adults. A large percentage of them are “cell only,” particularly those who are of lower income, exactly the type of people we wanted to include in our survey. Steps were taken to insure that our survey was representative and that we captured all types of young adults who had taken at least some post-secondary classes.
First, we used a "random digit dialing" procedure to make sure that every person who had a land line had a chance to participate in the survey, providing maximum coverage across the country. Then we stratified our sample so that phone numbers with particular area codes, namely those that have a higher population of younger people, were dialed more frequently so the chances of talking to one of them was greater.
We also dialed cell phone numbers, again through random selection, to make sure that young adults who did not use a land line had a chance of being interviewed. Forty percent of the interviews came from cell phones.
In order to determine eligibility for our survey, the introduction and screener (the questions to see if there was a young adult who had enrolled in post-secondary education) were read in either English or Spanish, depending on the respondents’ preference, to make sure that households where Spanish is spoken have a chance to be in our survey as well. With these sampling procedures we were able to get a nationally representative sample of young adults who had some post-secondary experience.
Q: Did you see any differences by demographics? For example, did males differ from females?
A: Yes. Please see Data to Go menu on the right to look at the full survey results broken out by different demographic groups. In the case of gender, we do see some interesting differences. For example ,women are more likely to say that college is important for financial and for personal success, more likely to select their college or university based on the courses they offered and, overall, had more help from their parents in paying for college. Females were also more likely to cite not having enough family time as a reason why they did not complete college.