Two recent articles, one in The Chronicle of Higher Education and one in the New York Times, discuss the toll the bad economy has taken on college freshmen.
According to the Chronicle article, “Economy Changed Freshmen’s Plans but Didn’t Shake Their Confidence,” 62.1% of college freshmen said that the recession “significantly affected” their college decisions. A recent survey shows that college freshmen are still entering college with high expectations of the “college experience,” but many chose to study at colleges that are less than 100 miles from their homes or chose to live with family members.
Students are relying on financial aid and loans more than ever—more than half took out loans and three-quarters of freshmen received grants and scholarships.
The New York Times article, “Record Level of Stress Found in College Freshmen,” discusses more of the psychological effects of the recession on this year’s freshmen class. A recent survey, “The American Freshman: National Norms Fall 2010,” indicates that the number of students who rated themselves as “below average” in emotion health had increased. The number of students who said their emotion health levels were “above average” decreased. Also, the gap between men and women in the emotional health race appears to be widening as female students consistently rate themselves as less emotionally healthy than do their male peers; though one reason for this, explain numerous experts, is that women are more in touch with their emotional well-being and are thus more likely to be able to express when they are feeling down.
College counselors vouch for these outcomes, saying that they have seen an increase in the number of students who walk through their doors who are depressed, stressed out, and using psychiatric medications that were prescribed to them before entering college.
According to the article, “The economy has only added to the stress, not just because of financial pressures on their parents but also because the students are worried about their own college debt and job prospects when they graduate.”
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