Study: LS students feel stigmatized
Apr 26, 2015
LS students feel inferior to other NYU students, according to a study conducted by CAS junior Drew Kogon. The study included 110 participants, all of whom were freshmen.
Originally an LS student, Kogon said his time in Liberal Studies served as a motivation for the research — he wanted to see if there was empirical data to support the stigma he felt surrounded Liberal Studies.
“I became pretty aware of the stereotypes that exist regarding the different colleges,” Kogon said. “I myself was a member of LS so from that and from observing my peers in how they perceived themselves and how some of them really felt they were, to some degree, second-class students added more bulk and more foundation to doing a study.”
Kogon said most LS students apply to CAS but the university places them in LS. Kogon added that this contributes to the feeling of perceived inferiority.
“A lot of it has to do with the fact that people perceive someone to be less intelligent because NYU is making the decision of where they want them to go to school as opposed to the individual,” Kogon said.
Initially, Kogon thought he would find a difference between those who were referred to Liberal Studies by the university and those who applied to it directly.
“I thought I’d find a significant difference in how they felt about themselves and their school and what I found was there was no difference,” Kogon said. “It seems that even if you get rid of the reference program, there is a stigma behind Liberal Studies. It sinks deeper than why you ended up there.”
From start to finish, the research took about a year and a half. Kogon constructed a questionnaire of 65 questions and went to freshman residence halls searching for participants. Participants also included CAS students to collect data from students in other schools about the perception Liberal Studies. Kogon received the CAS Dean’s Undergraduate Research Fund to pursue the study.
LS freshman Tori Porada said she found the results of the study in line with her own experience, as she has sometimes felt as though students in other colleges did not respect students in the LS program as much.
“While LS is a great program, and I’m happy to be a part of it, I think some students think it is a joke because it is two years,” Porada said. “I’ve had friends insinuate that my classes aren’t ‘real’ because they are general courses and aren’t necessarily specific to a certain major.”
Not everyone agreed with the results, however, as LS freshman Christina Marini said Liberal Studies has offered her a valuable college experience due to the small number of students.
“I do not resonate with that claim because I have a passion for the Liberal Studies program,” Marini said. “I think it is a great way to begin college because — due to the small class sizes — students are able to truly form relationships with each other and with their professors.”
A version of this article appeared in the Monday, April 27 print edition. Email Marita Vlachou and Alanna Bayarin at [email protected]