UCLA: Kids today more stressed out, partying less than their parents did

LOS ANGELES -- Today's high school seniors aren't partying and socializing as much as their parents' generation - they're too busy trying to get into college. And when they get there, some don't feel good about themselves, according to a new UCLA survey.

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Ryann Stibor
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"We are a pretty stressed-out generation," said Ryann Stibor.

Stibor, 18, is a senior in high school in Simi Valley, California. She's in the drama club and taking six advanced placement classes. She's applied to eight colleges.

"It is a lot harder and becomes pretty cut-throat in high school," Stibor said. "Everyone is competing for one spot in all these different schools - the one scholarship."

That pressure to get into a good college has taken a toll on students' social lives. UCLA's annual survey of college freshman found that just 18 percent of students spent 16 hours or more with their friends each week during their senior year of high school. That's compared to 37.9 percent of students in 1987.

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Kevin Eagan is the lead researcher. He says the so-called "senior slump" has become the "senior sprint."

"You're seeing students take on more AP and honors courses," Eagan told us. "They are taking on more extracurricular activities to build that college resume, to pad that application. So those pressures are taking away from students' time to be kids."

They are also drinking less. In 1987 34.5 percent of high school seniors spent six or more hours each week partying. That's dropped to just 8.6 percent. And those who drink wine or hard liquor plummeted from 67.8 percent in 1987 to 38.7 percent last year.

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Danny McElaney, 18, is a freshman at UCLA. He gave up partying in high school to get accepted.

"That was my number one priority in high school -- just get through it, get good grades, and get accepted to college," McElaney told us.

Parents may be happy to hear their kids are drinking and partying less, but researchers worry that all work and no play may be why students are arriving on college campuses with high levels of stress and depression.