The 1967 CIRP Freshman Survey featured items on dating patterns and expectations of marriage.
One question, only asked in 1967, inquired about students’ dating behavior while in high school. This emphasis on romantic relationships reflects the pop culture of the 1960s with the emergence of free love and the sexual liberation movement.
While attending high school, did you:
• Date one steady girlfriend (boyfriend)
• Have a series of steady girlfriends (boyfriends)
• Date a few different girls (boys) but none steadily
• Pretty much played the field
• Seldom or never date
Among these response choices, the highest percentage of freshmen indicated that they “date[d] a few different girls (boys) but none steadily” (23.6%) and the lowest percentage reported that they “seldom or never date[d]” (16.1%). However, it is important to note that responses to this question were relatively evenly distributed among the five options. Furthermore, there was virtually no difference between females and males in terms of the how they answered this question.
However, while the counterculture movement was challenging the conservative norms of the 1950s, there was still an interest in traditional notions of marriage. For many students, getting married during, or right out of, college was something that you just did. As the CIRP Freshman Survey tried to understand the values of incoming students, this inquiry on marriage was included in multiple years:
What is your best guess as to the chances that you will:
• Get married while in college
• Get married within a year after college
While few students expected to get married in college (7.6% of all freshmen), many more expected to tie the knot within a year after graduation, with 22.9% indicating that there was a “very good chance” of this happening. For women, this expectation was even higher, with 27.4% of females reporting that they expected to get married right after college, compared with 19.3% of men.
This emphasis on relationships on the survey in 1967 reveals the tension between conservative norms of the past and liberal notions of sexual freedom of the time. While only about 20% of all students had steady girl/boyfriends in high school, nearly 23% of them expected to marry just out of college. These issues reflect the changing values of the time and were captured through the experiences of freshmen in 1967.
Did you know…
17.3% of all entering freshmen indicated that they could competently identify at least 15 species of bird on sight.
33.2% of all entering freshmen indicated that they could competently name the starting players for a professional athletic team.
19.4% of all entering freshmen indicated that they could competently mix a dry martini.