Five Facts About This Year's Freshers | Youth Culture Snippet #4

Youth Thinking | 13 Jan 2015


It’s the beginning of a new year, a time for reflection and contemplation… As freshers settle back into university (somewhat more familiar with their environment, friendship groups and study routines), we at YouthSight have taken a trip down memory lane to find out what we learnt about our fresh-faced panellists in their first term. Routing through the YouthSight vaults, we’ve dug out five facts to share.


1. Getting fresh: first term frolics

Inviting someone back to yours becomes a whole lot easier when you don’t run the risk of having to introduce them to your parents – independent living, new friends, and wild nights create a hot bed for sexual encounters. At the start of the year, YouthSight estimated that 41% of freshers in the UK were virgins however by the end of the first term i.e. three months later, 18% had slept with their first sexual partner. An interesting and possibly surprising detail - despite all the fun of the first term, 39% of freshers were worried that they were not sexually experienced enough.

*YouthSight Freshers Omnibus, 1,000 interviews, fieldwork 17-21st December 2014


2. Freshers swipe right to find Mr Right

The media have prophetically pronounced that romance is dead; killed off by the new ‘hook-up’ culture that is associated with dating apps such as Tinder (the market leader), Grindr (for gay guys) or Brenda (for gay girls). In December, YouthSight asked 1,000 first years about their use of these dating apps and websites. We found that 6% of freshers had been on at least one Tinder date while 10% had been on a date with someone they had met on a dating website.

*YouthSight Freshers Omnibus, 1,000 interviews, fieldwork 17-21st December 2014


3. Sexting is totally normal

Millennials sure know how to flirt! Sexting, if you don’t already know, involves the exchange of sexually explicit messages (often including an image). Half of all freshers have sexted in the past. Yes, that’s 50% of all freshers have exchanged sexually explicit messages and/or images with someone. Of the 1,000 freshers we interviewed, only 6% had sent their first sext since starting university, the vast majority (44%) had been sexting long before freshers week!

*YouthSight Freshers Omnibus, 1,000 interviews, fieldwork 17-21st December 2014


4. Could we/he get the cheque please???

Despite 97% of freshers agreeing with the statement: I believe that all people are entitled to the same rights and liberties and are equals, regardless of their gender; it would appear that there are unequal gender expectations when it comes to paying when on a date.

We placed a poll on the OpinionPanel Community website, asking young people who pays when they are on a date. The OpinionPanel Community is our e-zine site (check it out!) where we publish panellists articles about issues they care about. Around 1,144 young people responded to the poll, with seven out of ten males expecting to pay when on a date and an nearly equal proportion of females (69%) expecting to go halves – or ‘go dutch’ as they say!

*OpinionPanel Community poll, 19th December 2014 until 5th January 2015


5. Freshers: the new romantic

While 39% of freshers were in a sexual/romantic relationship at the start of term, by the end of term, nearly a fifth (19%) were no longer with the same partner. Freshers who had found love during their first term were more hopeful that their relationship would last. Over a third (31%) of those who started a new relationship in the first term thought that they were in a relationship with ‘The One’.

*YouthSight Freshers Omnibus, 1,000 interviews, fieldwork 17-21st December 2014

We hope you found our fresher's facts interesting. To find out more about youth culture - the lifestyle, habits and beliefs of young people, get in touch now to find out more about our Millennil + Gen Z tracking survey, offering fortnightly reports, workshops and much more.

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