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Freshman feel less healthy, more depressed and bored, says new survey

January 29, 2002

What happens to students during that transformative first year of college? A new report from the Higher Education Research Institute provides answers to that question.

According to the report, "Your First College Year," 44.9 percent of freshmen rated their emotional health as above average at the end of their freshman year, a drop from the 52.4 percent who felt their health was above average at beginning of the academic year.

Some 10 percent of the students said they were less healthy physically at the end of their first year.

Sixteen percent report they felt depressed at some point during the previous year, up from 8.2 at the beginning of the year. More than 44 percent said they felt overwhelmed by all they have to do, up from 31.6 percent.

Students also are struggling to stay awake in class. More than 39 percent of the students who participated in the survey said they felt bored in class, compared to 36 percent who reported the same feeling during their senior year of high school. Students ranked "group discussion" as more important than "extensive lecturing," but indicated that the latter occurred more frequently.

A complete report on the survey is available in the Feb. 1 issue of "The Chronicle of Higher Education." The results of the pilot study are available online at