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Poll Says College Freshmen Lean Left

Attitudes: UCLA survey finds highest percentage of politically liberal students since early '70s.

January 28, 2002|REBECCA TROUNSON | TIMES EDUCATION WRITER

"We owe it to the community to help out a little," she said.

Patrick Hamo, 18, spent many hours in high school tutoring disadvantaged children in a Glendale program started by his older brother. "It really opens your eyes," the UCLA freshman said. "It makes you realize how much you can do."

Other trends emerged in this year's survey:

* Of this year's freshmen, 70% said they had socialized with someone of another racial or ethnic group in the last year--the highest rate since the survey began.

* Fewer students than before--19.5%--said they believed racial discrimination was "no longer a major problem" in the United States, and fewer thought affirmative action in college admissions should be abolished.

* A record 15.8% of freshmen said they have no religious preference, up slightly from last year and more than double the figure in 1966.

* More students than ever appear to be academically disengaged. A record 41.1% said they were frequently bored in class, and only 34.9% reported spending at least six hours a week hitting the books as high school seniors. In 1987, when the question was first asked, 47% said they studied at least six hours each week.

* This year's students continue to show signs of stress, worrying about completing all the tasks confronting them. A gender gap persists, with more than twice as many young women--36.6%--as young men--17.4%--reporting feeling "frequently overwhelmed by all I have to do."

"These students never really get a chance to calm down," Sax said, especially in the final, frenzied years of high school. "They're multi-tasking on everything at once, trying to build these strong resumes before they even get into college."

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