The Graduating
Class of


by the numbers


By Juliet E. Isselbacher and Alex Koller

Though members of the Class of 2023 saw their freshman year come to an untimely end when Covid-19 struck in March 2020, they have managed to catch up on months of missed revelry during the last two years since students returned to campus. For the first time since the 2018-19 academic year, Harvard seniors completed their final year in-person and without required masking, regular viral testing, and caps on the size of their social gatherings.

Based on the numbers, it seems the Class of 2023 was quick to make up for lost time. Nearly 37 percent of surveyed seniors reported losing their virginity as undergraduates. Nearly half of respondents who drink — 45 percent — said they had their first alcoholic beverage during college. Of those survey-takers who use marijuana, 59 percent reported blazing it for the first time after arriving at Harvard.

Nightlife has been a fixture in seniors’ social lives after years of restrictions, too. Nearly 58 percent of respondents reported having attended a final club party, and more than a quarter said they’ve had membership in a final club, sorority, fraternity, or other off-campus social organization.

Even so, a majority of respondents — 52 percent, roughly the same figure as in the Class of 2022 — elected not to participate in any infamous College traditions, which include having sex in Widener Library and jumping into the Charles River from Weeks Bridge. For those who did, though, Primal Scream was the most popular activity, as in years past. 

Sex and Dating

Just under 40 percent of surveyed seniors reported that they first had sex before starting college, while nearly 15 percent first had sex their freshman year. That’s not far off from the 17 percent in last year’s graduating class — a small difference despite the abrupt halt to the Class of 2023’s first year of college exploration.

At the end of their senior year, 26 percent of surveyed soon-to-be graduates reported that they have not yet had sex. Almost 22 percent of respondents have had just one sexual partner, while about 5 percent said they have had more than 20.

Nearly 60 percent of respondents used dating apps like Tinder, Grindr, Hinge, and Bumble — and 100 percent of survey-takers with more than 20 sexual partners reported that they avail themselves of those platforms.

Dating apps seem to facilitate hook-ups. But are they leading to actual dating? More than a quarter of respondents have not dated anyone during their time at Harvard. A plurality of surveyed seniors — around 38 percent — have dated just one person.

Drugs and Alcohol 

Amid the marijuana industry’s growing presence in the Cambridge area, more than half of surveyed seniors said they have used the substance within the last year — and a quarter use it at least once a month. Sixty-four percent of respondents said they have purchased marijuana legally.

Respondents’ drinking habits suggest a work hard, play hard routine among the Class of 2023. An overwhelming majority of those surveyed — 91 percent — said they have consumed alcohol in the past year. Half of surveyed seniors said they drink alcohol at least once a week, with nearly 12 percent imbibing more than twice weekly.

Other substances enjoyed less frequent use among the Class of 2023. Roughly 27 percent of respondents reported using tobacco at least once this last year, a dip from 31 percent in the Class of 2022. About 12 percent of survey-takers said they use tobacco at least once per month. 

In the last 12 months, around 15 percent of respondents consumed drugs like acid, ecstasy, and mushrooms, while 10 percent used cocaine. Just 8 percent of surveyed seniors said they used non-prescribed “study drugs” like Adderall over the same period.

The Four Things

Longstanding Harvard College tradition challenges undergraduates to complete three tasks before graduation: running a nude lap in Harvard Yard called Primal Scream the night before finals begin, urinating on the John Harvard statue, and having sex in the Widener Library stacks. A fourth, unofficial, tradition dares undergraduates to dive from Weeks Bridge into the Charles River.

As in previous years, midnight streaking in the Yard remained the most popular tradition. Just over 36 percent of surveyed seniors, on par with last year, reported having jogged sans clothes at the end of reading period.

Urinating on the John Harvard statue was the second-most popular escapade, with 27 percent of respondents having completed the feat. Nearly 40 percent of male survey-takers had urinated on the statue, compared to just under 15 percent of their female peers. A higher proportion of men than woman reported participating in the other three traditions, as well.

Just 12 percent of respondents did the deed in Widener, down from the 16 percent who had sex in the stacks in the Class of 2022. Meanwhile, only 11 percent of surveyed seniors took the plunge into the Charles.

Social Media

Eighty-six percent of surveyed seniors reported using Instagram. The app with the second-greatest following was LinkedIn, with 77 percent of respondents active on the professional networking platform. Facebook — the brainchild of Harvard dropout Mark E. Zuckerberg, who also runs Instagram — claimed just below 60 percent of respondents as users, while vanishing-photo app Snapchat and Twitter each approached 50 percent. Forty-one percent of survey-takers said they use TikTok, which has faced heightened scrutiny from lawmakers over security concerns.

The popularity of social media platforms has fluctuated throughout the last four years. In The Crimson’s freshman survey of the class, conducted upon matriculation in 2019, 87 percent of students reported spending time on Facebook daily, 85 percent were regular Snapchat users, and only 11 percent frequented Tiktok. 

The newcomer to this roster of apps is Sidechat, a forum for hyper-local campus discussions and gossip. Nearly 50 percent of seniors said they’re active on the app. 

About 3 percent of respondents said they stay off all social media, and more than 40 percent reported deleting their account on at least one social media platform during their time at Harvard. Instagram accounts were most frequently deleted.

About 3 percent of respondents said they stay off all social media, and more than 40 percent reported deleting their account on at least one social media platform during their time at Harvard. Instagram accounts were most frequently deleted.