The Graduating
Class of


by the numbers


By Joshua J. Florence and Mia C. Karr

While the Class of 2019 fulfilled their Science of Living Systems General Education requirement in the classroom, almost half of surveyed seniors also got a different type of education in living systems — 42 percent of respondents reported having had sex for the first time at the College. At the same time, roughly 21 percent of graduating seniors said they did not had sex either before or while completing their degree.

As in years past, many students also expanded their alcohol and drug horizons while at the College, but the vast majority continued to steer clear of anything harder than alcohol.

Sex and Dating

A plurality of Harvard seniors — roughly 18 percent — reported having had sex with just one partner during their College years. On the other end of the spectrum, 4 percent of respondents reported having sex with 20 or more partners.

  • For the second year in a row, BGLTQ-identifying respondents were more sexually active than their straight peers. While around 20 percent of heterosexual respondents reported having zero sexual partners, the number was 11 percent and 18 percent for homosexual and bisexual respondents, respectively.
  • Members of male final clubs reported having a median of 7 sexual partners, while members of female final clubs reported having a median of 4 sexual partners. For respondents not in any social club, the median number of sexual partners was 2.
  • Despite all of the sex, relationships were harder to come by. Less than half of graduating seniors reported dating more than one person in their time at the College. About one quarter of graduating seniors said they did not date anyone.


Seniors also had a number of opportunities to distract themselves from their lack of romance — namely through drugs and alcohol.

  • 61 percent of respondents reported consuming alcohol an average of once a week or more frequently, while 7 percent reported that they never drank.
  • Roughly half of respondents said they have used marijuana in the past year. Other drugs, however, were much less popular: 84 percent of respondents said they have never done hard drugs such as ecstasy or cocaine, and 92 percent avoided study drugs like Adderall.
  • While vaping is the latest substance craze to hit the youths, only 11 percent of graduating seniors said they vape, while 5 percent report owning a juul.
  • While roughly 10 percent of seniors not involved in social groups reported never drinking, zero percent of those in single-gender final clubs, fraternities and sororities reported never drinking. When it comes to hard drug use, however, members of co-ed final clubs were the most likely to partake; roughly half reported having done drugs such as ecstasy or cocaine.

Three Things

Harvard seniors “must” complete three important tasks before they graduate: run Primal Scream, pee on the John Harvard statue, and have sex in Widener stacks. But while Harvard students are usually overachievers, most failed to live up to the challenge.

  • Like the class of 2018, about one third of respondents have run a naked lap around Harvard Yard during Primal Scream.
  • Around 20 percent of respondents reported peeing on the John Harvard statue.
  • Seniors struggled most to complete the challenge that requires another person: only 10 percent reported having had sex in the stacks.


Apple continued to reign supreme among Harvard seniors. 88 percent reported owning an iPhone and 83 percent reported owning a Mac.

  • Among respondents who reported their parents’ income to be over $500,000 a year, over 90 percent owned iPhones and Macs, while among seniors coming from homes making under $40,000 a year under 80 percent owned iPhones and Macs.