'Serious' students call time on binge drinking

August 2, 2012

The pressure to get drunk at university is one of students' major worries, a survey has found.

One fifth of students polled by the market research firm YouthSight listed the pressure to drink as one of their top five anxieties about campus life.

Twenty-two per cent also counted "too much partying/drinking" as a major concern.

That fear was even more acute at Russell Group universities, where 30 per cent of students worried about the impact of excessive socialising on their studies.

Money was the biggest concern for most students, with 63 per cent listing it as a top-five worry. Other anxieties cited include difficulties settling in (50 per cent), trouble making friends (48 per cent) and getting on with flatmates (44 per cent).

The survey, which was commissioned by the student accommodation provider University Partnerships Programme, polled 1,507 students. About half those polled were expecting to start university this autumn; the rest were current undergraduates.

Students starting in 2012, who will face annual tuition fees of up to £9,000, were more likely than current undergraduates to pay attention to a university's reputation for academic excellence and its league table ranking, the report found.

Sixty-six per cent of applicants said a university's academic reputation was "very important" when choosing a place to study, compared with 58 per cent of undergraduates.

Seventy-seven per cent of applicants said league tables were "important" in their choice, compared with 71 per cent of university students.

Improving career prospects was the most commonly cited reason for going to university for all those polled, followed by the desire to learn about a subject and the chance to have a life-changing experience.

Having a good time or an interesting social life was mentioned by only about a fifth of students when asked to list their priorities.

"Young people going to university are rather serious these days," said Mia Lorenz, associate director of YouthSight, who compiled the report.

"They're typically entering higher education to improve their job prospects and to learn about their subject, and (they) place less emphasis on partying.

"Expectations about what universities will do to increase graduate employability are high."

jack.grove@tsleducation.com.

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