Student Partying, Emotional Health Take a Dip

Compared with past years, college freshmen reported partying less and feeling emotionally worse in 2014.

Compared with past years, college freshmen reported partying less and feeling emotionally worse in 2014, according to the University of California, Los Angeles’ annual Cooperative Institutional Research Program survey of first-time students.

More than 153,000 full-time freshman students from 227 US colleges and universities participated in the survey.

In 2014, 41.3% of students said they did not attend parties at all, and 61.4% said they spent less than 1 hour a week at parties. By comparison, 24.3% of freshman students in 1987 said they spent less than an hour per week at parties.

Many students not only indicated that they didn’t go to parties, but also said they did not consume alcohol or smoke cigarettes. About one-third of students self-reported that they frequently or occasionally drank beer, and these findings were the lowest for incoming freshman in the last 30 years.

In addition, 38.7% of students said they drank wine or hard liquor during their senior year in high school. Only 1.7% of student said they frequently smoked cigarettes.

Students’ emotional health also dropped to 50.7%, the lowest level ever reported. The proportion of those who reported feeling frequently depressed increased to 9.5%.

On the bright side, the study found that students were more interested in higher degrees. The percentage of college freshmen who planned to earn a master’s degree increased to 43.6% in 2014, and students with aspirations for a doctorate or a professional degree increased to 32.9%. About 23% of students said they would aspire to a bachelor’s degree, but nothing higher.

2015 marks the 50th year in which the survey will be administered.