Feb 21, 2012

High School Students are Hearing the Call to Volunteer

Of all the descriptors used to characterize this generation of college applicants, “involved” is one of the most attractive.

High school students are increasingly drawn to community service and are volunteering in greater numbers than ever. According to UCLA’s latest survey of this year’s college freshman, nearly 90 percent performed volunteer work “frequently” or “occasionally” during the past year. Over half regularly spent at least one hour per week volunteering, while nearly 13 percent volunteered 6 or more hours each week.

More than a quarter of the students demonstrated for a cause, and 61.3 percent helped raise money for a cause or campaign. Over half tutored another student, and 57.4 percent frequently performed community service as part of a class.

These are just a couple of the freshman facts collected by the Higher Education Research Institute (HERI) in the nation’s longest-running survey of American college survey.

Here are a few more:

  1. While many students live close enough to visit for the weekend, only 14 percent of freshmen attend college 500 or more miles away.
  2. Getting into college isn’t as challenging as it appears, as 76 percent of freshmen were admitted into their first choice college.
  3. But paying for college is another matter, as fewer incoming students received grants or scholarships (69.5 percent vs. 73.4 percent in 2010) and only 26.8 percent received $10,000 or more in scholarships as compared with 29.2 percent in 2010.
  4. Yet over 38 percent expect to contribute nothing from their own resources including savings from work, work-study, or other income, while over two-thirds expressed some or major concern about their ability to finance their college education.
  5. About half of the freshmen earned GPA’s no worse than A- in high school.
  6. Fifty-five percent of students took at least one AP class, and 21.7 percent took at least five.
  7. Although there are more liberal freshmen (27.6) than conservative (20.7 percent), the majority of students describe themselves as “middle of the road.”
  8. While most students are undecided about probable career occupation (14.2 percent), the most frequently cited career goals included engineer (9.6 percent) and physician (7.4 percent).
  9. Defying the law of averages, 71 percent rated themselves as being in the top 10 percent of students or “above-average” in academic ability.
  10. While nearly 30 percent spent no time reading for pleasure during the past year, over 13 percent spent 11 or more hours per week social networking.
  11. Less than 40 percent reported they studied at least six hours per week as high school seniors, while 52 percent at least occasionally failed to complete homework on time.
  12. Not surprisingly, a quarter of college freshmen said they would need math tutoring.
  13. On the other hand, 46 percent rated their writing ability as among the highest 10 percent or above average.
  14. And in their senior year, 46.5 percent of the students admitted they frequently or occasionally fell asleep in class.
  15. More than 28 percent said they frequently felt overwhelmed by all they do.

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