Economy Changed Freshmen's Plans but Didn't Shake Their Confidence

January 27, 2011

Ambitious and harried, pro-environment and pro-gay rights, waylaid by a bad economy: That's the typical college freshman this year, according to an annual national survey by the Higher Education Research Institute at the University of California at Los Angeles. Polled during the first few weeks of the fall semester, more freshmen than ever reported having above-average academic ability and "drive to achieve." But fewer than ever reported high levels of emotional health (see related article). Among other highs in the survey's history were students' expectations that they would communicate regularly with professors (38.2 percent reported a very good chance) and would study abroad (31.5 percent).