Survey: College Freshmen Partying Less, Volunteering More

LOS ANGELES – According to the results of UCLA’s annual survey of the nation’s entering undergraduates, this year’s entering college freshmen exhibit record increases in commitments to social and civic responsibility, increases in political participation and decreases in support for military spending. They also say they are drinking less.

Two out of three (66.3 percent) believe it is essential or very important to help others who are in difficulty – the highest this figure has been in the past 25 years, and an increase of 3.9 percentage points over last year (roughly 50,000 students nationally).

Political participation is also growing. A new survey item revealed that 63 percent of freshmen believe that “dissent is a critical component of the political process.” In addition, nearly half (49.7 percent and the highest percentage in the survey’s history) participated in an organized demonstration as high school seniors.

Nearly two-thirds of freshmen (65.8 percent) disagree with the statement that “federal military spending should be increased” and 63.1 percent agree with the statement that “only volunteers should serve in the armed forces.”

The percentage of entering college students who report that they frequently or occasionally drank beer as high school seniors dropped to an all-time low in 2005, moving down 2.1 percentage points to 43.4 percent. This figure continues to drop from the 1982 high of 73.7 percent, a total change of 30.3 percentage points.

The annual survey is part of the Cooperative Instiutional Research Project (CIRP) conducted by the Higher Education Research Institue at UCLA’s Graduate School of Education and Information Studies.

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