As classes begin this week at Harvard University, the incoming Class of 2020 might be described as liberal, non-religious virgins, who have tried alcohol but shunned marijuana.
Those are a few of the common traits of this year's freshman class at the Ivy League school as measured by the school's annual "Class of" survey.
Each year, The Harvard Crimson campus newspaper sends out an email survey to the school’s incoming students. The survey covers such topics as drug habits, family incomes and demographic makeup of the United State’s oldest institution of higher learning.
This year, 1,209 out of the 1,657 incoming students responded to questions about their academic careers, religions, politics and more, detailing what 73 percent of the class of 2020 is like. For starters, the class is pretty evenly split when it comes to gender, with 50.2 percent male, 49.3 percent female, and 0.5 percent identifying as “other.”
Incoming students are mostly white—though the 55.7 of respondents who identify as white is a slight decrease from the 58.2 percent in the Class of 2019 survey. Other ethnicities saw an uptick in their representation, with 26.6 percent identifying as Asian, 11.4 percent as black or African-American and 13.1 percent as Hispanic or Latino (compared to 23.5 percent, 11.2 percent, and 12.5 percent respectively for the class of 2019).
A majority of the freshman class may be familiar with New England’s ways as nearly 40 percent of them are from the Northeast. The Southwest sent the least amount of incoming students, with less than 7 percent of respondents saying they’re from that area.
Harvard freshman seem to be good students, not just in academics but in morals: more than 90 percent of respondents said that they have never cheated on an exam. Also, more than two-thirds said that they have never tried marijuana, and nearly 80 percent said they do not own a fake ID. However, roughly 60 percent of respondents said they have tried alcohol.
What about harder drugs? A surprising 5 percent reported that they’ve tried psychadelic mushrooms, the largest percentage in the last four years. The Class of 2019 survey showed that that year’s freshman had mostly tried “study drugs,” with less than 5 percent reporting so, when it came to trying something harder than weed.
The Crimson also poked into incoming students’ sex lives and found out that more than 60 percent reported being virgins. They discovered a disturbing statistic as well: more than 76 percent of incoming women are worried about sexual assault at Harvard (along with 14 percent of men).
That concern may come on the heels of an incident last year when a student who had said that she was sexually assaulted and then harassed said that the school “refused to act.” Harvard has since reinforced its efforts to prevent on-campus sexual assault with a set of recommendations from a University-wide task force and the hiring of a new administrator to head prevention training.
The Class of 2020 survey ends with data on the students’ technology use, and though Facebook creator Mark Zuckerburg conceived the social media site while on campus, the majority of incoming students don’t seem to be obsessed with it: more than a quarter of respondents said they spend 15 minutes or less a day on Facebook.