Half of students have come to lecture drunk from night before

Student Drinking Survey

Over freshers' week, the odd headline appeared decrying the drunken antics of students. 18 year olds making mistakes. Who could have imagined?!

But how much do students really drink? And are they really wasting both their loans and education on always going out? Student Money Saver wanted to find out – so we asked just under 3,000 students what their experiences were like with booze, sex and lectures (granted, an odd combination). What we found may surprise you.

The headline figures

  • 47% of students admit to turning up to a lecture still drunk
  • 25% of students spend less than a tenner on a night out
  • 70% of students have friends who don’t drink
  • But only half have missed one because they’ve been hungover
  • 31% of students have had sex with someone they wouldn’t have done if they’d been sober
  • Spirits and a mixer are the most popular student drink

For those looking to save on their nights out...

  • Go out earlier. While pre-drinking is a long established tradition and a great way to drink more for less, head out too late and you’ll end up paying heavily for club entry. Go into town a little earlier and you’ll find plenty of early entry offers.
  • Do not succumb to buying rounds. It’s an expensive way to do it and you WILL lose money – there’s always someone who’s changes their drink from cheapest-beer-on-the-list to a fine single malt.
  • Go own brand. The drinks industry is built on perceived snobbery, but an expensive brand-name doesn’t guarantee quality: try dropping down a price level in the supermarket and see if you notice a difference. If you don’t – stick with it. Ice always helps! Try Aldi and Lidl, too – their wine and spirits are far better than anything else at that price point.
  • Eat a big meal before heading out – and avoid wasting cash on the late night takeaway. Even better, have something there for when you get in.
  • Take cash – it makes it impossible to break your budget.
  • Go somewhere you know somebody – if you’re friendly with somebody, it makes it easier to get a free drink or free entry.

The full results

Percentages rounded to nearest whole figure unless otherwise stated.

1. Do you drink?
Yes – 95%
No – 5%

Perhaps unsurprisingly, only 5% of students identified as teetotal (compared to 15% of the adult UK population.)

2. Do you have any friends who don’t drink?
No (all of my friends drink) – 30%
Yes, 1-3 don’t – 53%
Yes, 4-7 don’t – 11%
Yes, 8+ don’t – 6%
None of my friends drink – 0.24%

Pleasingly, the majority know somebody who doesn’t drink.

3. How often do you drink?
Less than once a month – 14%
Once a month – 16%
Once a week – 33%
2 -3 times a week – 29%
4 – 5 times a week – 6%
Every day – 2%

It seems like the reputation of constantly drunken students is decidedly unfair: only 2% drink every day, and most drink once a week or less often. Students may be enjoying university but they're certainly not wasting their time there.

4. Have you ever had sex with someone you wouldn’t have, if you had been sober?
No – 66%
Prefer not to say – 3%
Yes – 31%

5. Do you regret it?
No – 16%
No, because I’ve never done it – 66%
Yes (don’t remind me!) – 18%

6. Do you pre-drink before a night out?
No, never – 14%
Yes, sometimes – 21%
Yes, usually – 29%
Yes, always – 36%

7. How much do you spend on a night out drinking?
Less than £5 – 10%
£6-10 – 15%
£11-20 – 33%
£21-30 – 26%
£31-40 – 9%
£41-50 – 4%
£51+ - 3%

25% spend less than £10 on a night out - which shows many students are money concious and savvy with their finances - unsurprisingly, given how tight finances are for students today. But, as many commentators have noticed, there are a number of students who clearly have high disposable income – often spending over £41 on a night out. The findings didn’t show that those spending more on their typical night out went out less frequently, so there is no suggestion those drinking less often spend more when they do go out - rather, that some are simply privileged.

8. Have you ever missed a lecture because you were hungover?
No – 50%
Yes – 50%

9. Have you ever turned up to a lecture still drunk?
No – 53%
Yes – 47%

10. What’s your favourite alcoholic beverage?
Beer – 15%
Cider – 15%
A cocktail – 1.2%
Neat spirits – 1.8%
Snakebite – 0.86%
A spirit and mixer (vodka and coke, for instance) – 44.4%
Wine – 19%
Other – 2.74% It may surprise some, but it seems wine is more popular than either beer or cider. Old ‘favourites’ such as snakebite barely get a mention.

Drink responsibly.