April 29, 2021

In an academic year altered by the pandemic, only 10% of respondents reported being extremely satisfied with their Middlebury experience this year — and more than one in four respondents reported being somewhat or extremely dissatisfied. A vast majority — nearly 80% — reported that Covid-19 had a negative impact on their academic learning. 

But in general, respondents who had more in-person classes were more satisfied with their experience at Middlebury. This is consistent with the anecdotal responses in the Fall 2020 survey, where many students wished for more in-person classes.

The data also show that the class of 2024 and class of 2024.5 — the only classes with no pre-pandemic Middlebury experience — were the most satisfied with their experience at Middlebury this year. Seniors, after first-year Febs, were the most likely to say they were “extremely satisfied” with their experience.

More than two thirds — 68% — of students reported experiencing some degree of impostor syndrome while at Middlebury, and 31% of respondents said they have experienced impostor syndrome often.

Impostor syndrome, the experience of doubting one’s abilities and feeling like a fraud, is reported with greater frequency by certain groups. Respondents who identified as racial minorities felt impostor syndrome far more than others: almost half of respondents who identified as Hispanic, Latino, Black or African American experienced impostor feelings often. 

In addition, discrepancies emerged along the lines of class and hometown. Forty percent of students receiving financial aid said they felt impostor syndrome often, compared to 25% of students not on financial aid. Students from the Southwest and Southeast reported experiencing impostor syndrome most often, at 46% and 35%, respectively. 

Changes to learning have also shaped students’ academic habits and routines. Almost two-thirds of respondents said they spend seven or more hours on a screen everyday. Academics, however, remained a relative priority when students were pressed for time. Respondents indicated that they sacrificed sleep, exercise, chores and social activities (each selected by more than 60% of survey-takers). Notably, 300 students, roughly 29%, also reported that they sacrificed meals. 

This year’s data show a significant uptick in honor code violations, with 58% of respondents saying they had broken the code at some point—up from 46% in 2020 and 35% in 2019. As in 2020, the most common reason students broke the code was using unauthorized aid, which once again comprised more than half of the honor code violations.  

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