From USA Today: “College Freshmen Study Booze More Than Books.”

Well, no. The study found the opposite — that a majority of first-years who had drunk in the previous two weeks spent more time studying than drinking. It was a narrow majority, but a majority nonetheless.

And though it did find that those students who drank spent more time on average, drinking than studying, it also found that 30% of students didn’t drink at all.

If you factor that 30% into the study’s totals, you find that only a third of students surveyed spent more time drinking than studying, and that the average student surveyed spent an hour and fifteen minutes a week more time with the books than with a beverage.

One other thing. The study found that the average student spent 8.4 hours a week studying. But as the USA Today article notes way down at the bottom of the piece, that result is inconsistent with a National Study of Student Engagement, conducted last spring, that found that students spent an average of 13.2 hours a week prepping for class. 

To summarize: The study found that 65% of college students spend more time studying than drinking, and that the average first-year spends seventy-five more minutes a week studying than drinking. The article itself suggests that the study may have underreported students’ study time by as much as five hours a week. And yet there’s that headline again … “College Freshmen Study Booze More Than Books.”

Nice work.

Update: I’ve taken a look at the actual “study.” It was put out by a company that offers online alcohol education programs to colleges, and based on the answers provided by students who participated in the company’s programs. Estimates of time spent studying were amalgamated from several different sources, and estimates of time spent drinking were derived from an odd and unnecessarily complicated formula — in neither case did the study rely on students’ self-reporting. This wasn’t an academic study, it was a marketing device.

Second update: Okay, this is turning into a series. I’ll link to follow-up posts here…

NASPA Ties to Dodgy Drinking Study

NASPA and Outside the Classroom