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Study Finds Positive Trend in Freshmen Class Success

A UCLA survey conducted during Fall 2011 indicates that incoming freshman are spending less time in the bottle and more time in the books.

The Higher Education Research Institute of UCLA’s Graduate School of Education and Information Studies recently published the results of the “American Freshman” survey, which revealed that the class of 2015 consumes significantly less alcohol and took more rigorous course loads in high school than their older classmates. The study also reported that 71.3 percent of incoming freshman support gay marriage, compared to 64.9 percent in 2009, while 42.1 percent of this year’s incoming class believe undocumented students should not be able to enroll in universities, compared to 47.2 percent in 2009.

Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Michael Young said students are growing up and responding to a more diverse society.

“What I find is that this generation, more than any, is more accepting, and not in a ‘we value diversity’ way,” Young said. “It’s not that they’re necessarily more liberal; it’s that they realize the way the world is and that there are gay, lesbian and bisexual people, so it’s an unremarkable thing.”

The percentage of high school students who took at least one AP course also increased 3.1 percentage points.

Associate Director of Application and Evaluation Services Donna Coyne said incoming freshman classes have continually improved over the last several years.

“It’s true that test scores and GPAs for incoming students have been going up over the years,” Coyne said.

First-year sociology major Carolina Feria said parental involvement is a significant component in determining individual college enrollment.

“Out of all the people I went to high school with, only 25 of 600 made it to a university,” Feria said. “The way I see it, in some areas parents are less involved in their kids’ schooling, and kids aren’t always taking as much initiative.”

The survey also indicated that American freshmen drink less than prior years. A 2010 survey reported 38.4 percent of incoming freshman said they consumed beer during their senior year, while 43.3 percent said they drank wine and/or liquor. The 2011 survey found 35.4 percent drinking beer and 41.1 percent consuming wine and/or liquor.

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