By Annea Hapçiu and Courtney Rozen


The Uncertain U survey was produced and designed by journalism students at American University in Washington, D.C., during the spring 2017 semester.

Maria Ivancin, president of Market Research Bureau, guided us through the steps of conducting research. Other experienced researchers evaluated the survey for language, bias, length and clarity. Sara Bendoraitis, director of programming, outreach and advocacy at American University’s Center for Diversity, and Inclusion and Kristina Thompson, associate director of International Student & Scholar Services at American University reviewed the survey before it was launched.

Qualtrics survey software was used to collect data and report results.

Distribution was done via email, text message and social media platforms by students in the Writing and Editing for Convergent Media class at American University between March and April 2017. Respondents were not provided any sort of compensation, and the survey was done in a completely voluntary manner.

The survey was distributed only within the United States. It targeted college students, both domestic and international, in every corner of the country.

  • 725 students completed the survey.
  • 113 U.S. higher education institutions were represented.
  • 77 percent of respondents identified as female, 17.5 percent as male, and the rest as transgender, fluid or did not identify their genders.
  • 75 percent of respondents were between ages 17 and 21, 20 percent between 22 and 26, and 3 percent between 27 and 31.
  • 96 percent of respondents were U.S. citizens and 4 percent were international students.
  • 86 percent of respondents were undergraduate students, 8 percent were graduate students, less than 1 percent were law school students, and less than 1 percent were Ph.D. students.
  • 46 percent of respondents attend public institutions and 54 percent private institutions.

Students from the following universities responded to the survey:  


Featured photo by Fabian Trsara