20 facts for and about college students

Interesting tidbits about college life and everything that goes with it.

1. The word “alumnus” is Latin for “a pupil” and “foster son.” (Lucas, Christopher J. 1994. “American Higher Education: A History.” New York: St. Martin’s Press)

2. The following celebrities were college dropouts: Reggie Jackson, Steve Jobs, Ben Affleck, Woody Allen, Hans Christian Anderson, Dan Ackroyd, Kate Beckinsale, James Cameron and Mark Zuckerberg (founder of Facebook). “Famous, Rich, and Successful People Who Were High School or College Dropouts.” The College Dropout Hall of Fame. Accessed: Feb. 3, 2013) 

3. In the pre-Civil War era, not honoring the Sabbath and disbelief in the Bible were campus crimes at Yale University. (Lucas, Christopher J. 1994. “American Higher Education: A History.” New York: St. Martin’s Press)

4. According to Science Daily, college students are among the most sleep-deprived age group in the U.S. NASA studies show that a “26-minute nap improved the performance and alertness of an individual by 34 percent and 54 percent, respectively.” Twenty-six minutes can change a student’s attitude and focus.

5. Students are encouraged to get seven to nine hours of sleep in order to reach their “highest academic performance.” On average, students sleep five to six hours per night. About 20 percent of college students suffer from sleeping disorders. (Mayo Clinic)

6. The SAT was developed and administered in the early 20th century. The first exam was taken by high school students in 1926 (Thomas, Jeffery. “International Enrollment at U.S. Colleges Again Breaks Records.” America.gov. Nov. 18, 2009. Accessed: Feb. 3, 2013)

7. In 1841, Oberlin College (Oberlin, Ohio) was the first college to grant women degrees in education. In 1861, it became the first college to grant bachelor’s degrees to African-American women. (Turk, Diana B. 2004. “Bound by a Mighty Vow: Sisterhood and Women’s Fraternities 1870-1920.” New York: NYU Press, 2004)

8. Sigma Phi was the first national fraternity in the United States at Hamilton College in New York (1827). It is also the second-oldest Greek fraternal society following Phi Beta Kappa. (Turk, Diana B. 2004. Bound by a Mighty Vow: Sisterhood and Women’s Fraternities 1870-1920. New York: NYU Press, 2004)

9. Harvard receives $26 billion in “financial endowments” – that is higher than any institution in the world. (Karabel, Jerome. 2005. “The Chosen: The Hidden History of Admission and Exclusion at Harvard, Yale, and Princeton.”  New York: Houghton Mifflin Company)

10. Now called Alpha Delta, the first sorority in the United States was created in 1851 at Wesleyan Female College in Georgia as a secret society. Its original name was the Adelphean Society. Phi Mu followed in 1852. Neither sorority adopted a Greek name until 1904 (Turk, Diana B. 2004. “Bound by a Mighty Vow: Sisterhood and Women’s Fraternities 1870-1920.” New York: NYU Press, 2004)

11. Seventy-three percent of students attend all types of public colleges and universities. (US News)

12. Sixteen percent of students belong to private nonprofit colleges and universities. (US News)

13. Of all undergrads, about 3 percent are veterans and 1 percent are active duty or reserve members. (US News)

14. At least 30 percent of adults in 16 states (mainly coastal states) have a bachelor’s degree or higher. Less than one-third have at least a bachelor’s degree. (US News)

15. The number of high school graduates nationwide is predicted to increase 10 percent within the next 10 years. (US News)

16. Contrary to common myth, one third of students with a bachelor’s degree do not have any educational debt. The average level of debt of degree-holders is $20,000 — approximately the price of a “modest” car. (US News)

17. Only 0.4 percent of American college students attend an Ivy League school (Almanac of Higher Education).

18. Thirteen percent of public universities admit less than half of their applicants. (Almanac of Higher Education)

19. Community colleges account for more than 39 percent of U.S. students. (Almanac of Higher Education)

20. According to Stanford University, approximately 20 percent of college students admitted to cheating in high school during the 1940s. Today, between 75 and 98 percent of college students surveyed each year say they have cheated in high school.