Tag Archives: college freshman

College freshmen: 75 percent support gay marriage

Each year since 1966, UCLA’s Higher Education Research Institute has conducted a massive survey of incoming freshmen at four-year colleges, asking questions about their motivations, their plans and their political views. Typically, big shifts are only apparent over long time periods. But sometimes economic and political currents can lead new college students to give responses noticeably different from what their predecessors said.

This year’s survey is based on the responses of 192,912 first-time, full-time students at 283 four-year colleges. The responses are statistically weighted to reflect the broader population of such students – approximately 1.5 million at 1,613 institutions nationally.

Here are some key findings:

• Support for same-sex marriage rose to 75 percent, up 4 points from just a year ago and up 24 points from 1997. Among freshmen calling themselves conservative, 47 percent support same-sex marriage, up from 43 percent a year ago.

• The number who believe abortion should be legal also has increased, from 58 percent in 2008 to 61 percent this year, while 65 percent believe the wealthy should pay higher taxes (up from 60 percent in 2008).

• The percentage who said they believe “a national health care plan is needed to cover everybody’s medical costs” fell from 70 percent in 2008 to 63 percent this year.

• Compared to 2008 when President Barack Obama was elected the first time, fewer freshmen now identify as liberal (30 percent, down from 34 percent). More students call themselves middle of the road (47 percent, up from 43 percent) and the number calling themselves conservative is about the same (23 percent).

• Two-thirds of incoming freshmen (67 percent) said their choice of which college to attend was significantly affected by current economic conditions, up from 62 percent two years ago, when UCLA first asked the question. More are also deciding to live with family or relatives (17 percent, up from 15 percent last year) and fewer in dorms (76 percent, down from 79 percent a year ago).

• About 84 percent expect to graduate from college in four years. In fact, only about half are likely to do so.

• New college students are increasingly career-focused when it comes to what they want out of higher education. Among reasons for attending, getting a better job was the most common response and hit an all-time high of 88 percent, 20 points higher than in the mid-1970s. Other top reasons most students reported include making more money and gaining an appreciation of ideas.

• More than 30 percent of incoming college students reported frequently feeling overwhelmed when they were high school seniors. But there were wide gender gaps: 41 percent of female students said they’d felt overwhelmed, compared to 18 percent of male students.

Beloit College’s Mindset List for freshman

Every year, Beloit College in Beloit, Wis., releases its Mindset List to give a snapshot of how the incoming freshmen class views the world.

Most students entering college for the first time this fall were born in 1994. For these students, Kurt Cobain, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Richard Nixon and John Wayne Gacy have always been dead.

The list for the Class of 2016:

1. They should keep their eyes open for Justin Bieber or Dakota Fanning at freshman orientation.

2. They have always lived in cyberspace, addicted to a new generation of “electronic narcotics.”

3. The Biblical sources of terms such as “forbidden fruit,” “the writing on the wall,” “good Samaritan” and “the promised land” are unknown to most of them.

4. Michael Jackson’s family, not the Kennedys, constitutes “American royalty.”

5. If they miss “The Daily Show,” they can always get their news on YouTube.

6. Their lives have been measured in the fundamental particles of life: bits, bytes and bauds.

7. Robert De Niro is thought of as Greg Focker’s long-suffering father-in-law, not as Vito Corleone or Jimmy Conway.

8. Bill Clinton is a senior statesman of whose presidency they have little knowledge.

9. They have never seen an airplane “ticket.”

10. On TV and in films, the ditzy dumb blonde female generally has been replaced by a couple of dumb and dumber males.

11. The paradox “too big to fail” has been for their generation what “we had to destroy the village in order to save it” was for their grandparents.

12. For most of their lives, maintaining relations between the United States and the rest of the world has been a woman’s job in the State Department.

13. They can’t picture people actually carrying luggage through airports rather than rolling it.

14. There has always been football in Jacksonville, Fla., but never in Los Angeles.

15. Having grown up with Mp3s and iPods, they never listen to music on the car radio and really have no use for radio at all.

16. Since they’ve been born, the United States has measured progress by a 2 percentage point jump in unemployment and a 16-cent rise in the price of a first-class postage stamp.

17. Benjamin Braddock, having given up both a career in plastics and a relationship with Mrs. Robinson, could be their grandfather.

18. Their folks have never gazed with pride on a new set of bound encyclopedias on the bookshelf.

19. The Green Bay Packers have always celebrated with the Lambeau Leap.

20. Exposed bra straps have always been a fashion statement, not a wardrobe malfunction to be corrected quietly by well-meaning friends.

21. A significant percentage of them will enter college already displaying some hearing loss.

22. “The Real World” has always “stopped being polite and started getting real” on MTV.

23. Women have always piloted war planes and space shuttles.

24. White House security has never felt it necessary to wear rubber gloves when gay groups have visited.

25. They have lived in an era of instant stardom and self-proclaimed celebrities, famous for being famous.

26. Having made the acquaintance of Furby at an early age, they have expected their toy friends to do ever more unpredictable things.

27. Outdated icons with images of floppy discs for “save,” a telephone for “phone,” and a snail-mail envelope for “mail” have oddly decorated their tablets and smartphone screens.

28. “Star Wars” has always been just a film, not a defense strategy.

29. They have had to incessantly remind their parents not to refer to their CDs and DVDs as “tapes.”

30. There have always been blue M&Ms, but no tan ones.

31. Along with online viewbooks, parents have always been able to check the crime stats for the colleges their kids have selected.

32. Newt Gingrich has always been a key figure in politics, trying to change the way America thinks about everything.

33. They have come to political consciousness during a time of increasing doubts about America’s future.

34. Billy Graham is as familiar to them as Otto Graham was to their parents.

35. Probably the most tribal generation in history, they despise being separated from contact with their similar-aged friends.

36. Stephen Breyer has always been an associate justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.

37. Martin Lawrence has always been banned from hosting “Saturday Night Live.”

38. Slavery has always been unconstitutional in Mississippi, and Southern Baptists have always been apologizing for supporting it in the first place.

39. The Metropolitan Opera House in New York has always translated operas on seatback screens.

40. A bit of the late Gene Roddenberry, creator of “Star Trek,” has always existed in space.

41. Good music programmers are rock stars to the women of this generation, just as guitar players were for their mothers.

42. Gene therapy has always been an available treatment.

43. They were too young to enjoy the 1994 World Series, but then no one else got to enjoy it either.

44. The folks have always been able to grab an Aleve when the kids started giving them a migraine.

45. While the iconic TV series for their older siblings was the sci-fi show “Lost,” for them it’s “Breaking Bad,” a gritty crime story motivated by desperate economic circumstances.

46. Simba has always had trouble waiting to be king.

47. Before they buy an assigned textbook, they will check to see whether it’s available for rent or purchase as an e-book.

48. They grew up, somehow, without the benefits of “Romper Room.”

49. There has always been a World Trade Organization.

50. L.L. Bean hunting shoes have always been known as just plain Bean Boots.

51. They have always been able to see Starz on DirecTV.

52. Ice-skating competitions have always been jumping matches.

53. There has always been a Santa Clause.

54. NBC has never shown “It’s a Wonderful Life” more than twice during the holidays.

55. Mr. Burns has replaced J.R. Ewing as the most-shot-at man on American television.

56. They have always enjoyed school and summer camp memories with a digital yearbook.

57. Herr Schindler has always had a List; Mr. Spielberg has always had an Oscar.

58. Selena’s fans have always been in mourning.

59. They know many established film stars by their voices on computer-animated blockbusters.

60. History has always had its own channel.

61. Thousands have always been gathering for “million-man” demonstrations in Washington, D.C.

62. Television and film dramas have always risked being pulled because the story line was too close to the headlines from which they were “ripped.”

63. “The Twilight Zone” involves vampires, not Rod Serling.

64. Robert Osborne has always been introducing Hollywood history on TCM.

65. Little Caesar has always been proclaiming “Pizza Pizza.”

66. They have no recollection of when Arianna Huffington was a conservative.

67. Chronic fatigue syndrome has always been officially recognized with clinical guidelines.

68. They watch television everywhere but on a television.

69. The “Pulp Fiction” meal of a “royale with cheese” and an “Amos and Andy milkshake” has little or no resonance with them.

70. Point-and-shoot cameras are soooooo last millennium.

71. Despite being preferred urban gathering places, two-thirds of the independent bookstores in the United States have closed for good during their lifetimes.

72. Astronauts have always spent well over a year in a single space flight.

73. Lou Gehrig’s record for most consecutive baseball games played has never stood in their lifetimes.

74. Genomes of living things have always been sequenced.

75. The Sistine Chapel ceiling has always been brighter and cleaner.

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