American Freshman survey has been conducted annually by UCLA’s Higher Education Research Institute since 1987. The 2014 survey included 153,015 rising freshmen at 227 four-year colleges. In 2014, students enrolling at four-year colleges and universities entered with the lowest self- reported rates of alcohol and cigarette use than at any point in over 30 years. 74.2% of students indicated they “frequently” or “occasionally” drank beer in 1981; students in 2014 who had done so declined to 33.5%. Students’ use of wine or hard liquor during senior year of high school dropped from 67.8% in 1987 to 38.7% in 2014. The trend was similar for students who smoke cigarettes, with 9.2% of students in 1981 reporting frequent cigarette use compared to only 1.7% of students in 2014. Such declines reflect a number of social, medical, and legal changes over time, including changes to the legal age of alcohol and tobacco consumption in many states.
Almost 11% of freshmen said they spent six hours or more a week at parties in their senior year of high school, compared with 23 percent 10 years ago. Current college freshmen say they are more concerned about financial success, and more hope to attend graduate school. The survey found 9.5% of freshmen found they frequently felt depressed, compared with 6% in 2009.