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8 Things You Should Know About the Class of 2015

8 Things You Should Know About the Class of 2015

Get to know the Class of 2015.

By Kathryn Knight Randolph

February 08, 2012

Each year, UCLA’s Graduate School of Education and Information Studies releases a survey to the country’s college freshmen class to identify who they are as a whole. The survey covers a range of topics, from political views to how they’re paying for college, in order to provide a complete picture of the Class of 2015.

In summary, here are eight things you probably didn’t know about the country’s college freshmen but will now:

1. The survey indicates that college freshmen are more liberal-minded than ever. While the majority of respondents classified themselves as “middle of the road,” their views on certain subjects indicated a more left leaning freshmen class. For instance, 71.3% of survey respondents felt that same-sex couples should have the right to legal marital status.

2. As high school students, college freshmen took academics more seriously than their predecessors. According to the survey, 71% of students took at least one AP course, and those taking at least five AP courses rose from 15.5% in 2009 to 18.9% in 2011.

Additionally, the number of students frequently or occasionally late for class was down about three percentage points from the 2010 study, which implies better college graduation rates. The survey reveals that “students who were more likely to report coming late to class in high school were less likely to graduate from college in either four, five or six years.”

3. College freshmen also reported drinking less in high school. Those who reported drinking beer frequently or occasionally dropped to 35.4%, wine and liquor consumption decreased to 41.1% and students who claimed they “partied” at some point in a week moved down to 65.3%.

4. The number one reason that college freshmen gave for attending college was to get a better job upon graduation, which has been the trend since 2009.

5. Students received fewer grants and scholarships, and the amount that students received decreased as well. In 2011, 69.5% of college freshmen were paying for school with grants and scholarships as compared to 73.4% in 2010. Also, students receiving more than $10,000 in grants and scholarships dropped from 29.2% in 2010 to 26.8% in 2011.

6. Despite the fact that college freshmen are receiving less grants and scholarships, and 52.5% of those freshmen report having to take out student loans to finance their education, the number of students who plan to take on a job to offset the costs of college has dropped to 61.7%, from 64.3% in 2010.

7. When it comes to attending the first choice college, the percentage of students who actually attend has declined from 60.5% in 2010 to 57.9% in 2011, the lowest ever since the survey began asking this question in 1974. This also correlates to the percentage of students accepted to their first choice college. In 2011, 76% students were accepted into their first choice college, down 2.9% from 2010.

8. Not surprisingly, social media usage is up. Approximately 53.1% of college freshmen reported using social media sites for over three hours each week as high school seniors. Women tended to use social media sites more than men, with 56.9% devoting three hours or more each week while only 48.4% of men did so. Finally, those who did not use any social media drastically dropped from 13.7% in 2007 to 5.2% in 2011.

What do you think of the survey results? Are they in line with your perception of college freshmen and college students as a whole?


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