Boring life of sleepy American students

March 6, 1998

Thirty-six per cent of first-year United States students say they have been bored in university or college, according to a survey.

And that's the good news. As many say they slept through it.

The survey of more than 250,000 students showed that many tolerate their education as the means to a good job - the main reason given for attending. Three-quarters hope to boost their earning power.

Sixty-one per cent ticked that they enrolled in college for education, 36 per cent to become more cultured and 36 per cent said their parents wanted them to.

The 31st annual survey, conducted by the Higher Education Research Institute at the University of California in Los Angeles, was based on responses from 252,080 of the 1.6 million students who entered this year.

A record 36 per cent said they had been bored in class and 35 per cent that they had overslept and missed a class or an appointment - also an all-time high.

Only a third said they had studied at least six hours a week, fewer than 10 years ago. Twice as many spent that much time socialising.

Many students had doubts about their prospects for success in college. Nearly 30 per cent said they needed remedial instruction and a third do not think they will graduate. More than half said they were worried about how they would pay for college and, of those, 16 per cent said they doubted they could afford to stay.

More than a third chose their particular college based on the financial assistance they were offered and half because past graduates got good jobs.

Objective students considered being "very well-off financially" most important - more than raising a family, which came second.

A record 73 per cent had performed some community service, but fewer than a quarter thought it was important. The rest said they were required by their college to volunteer or that it gave them an edge on their cv.

More than half described themselves as politically middle-of-the-road, a quarter liberal and a fifth conservative. Those who said it was important to keep abortion legal fell to 54 per cent, the lowest since 1979, while those who favour laws prohibiting homosexuality rose to 34 per cent. Two-thirds oppose legalising marijuana and fewer than half approve of people having sex if they have not known each other long. Most believe in gun control.

Only 53 per cent said they drank beer frequently or occasionally, down from 72 per cent in 1981. But 16 per cent said they smoked frequently, the most in 50 years.

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments