Think of students and most people are likely to conjure up an image of dishevelled, anarchic activists personified by the 1980s hit BBC comedy, The Young Ones.
Things have, of course, moved on since that landmark show, but to what extent does the old stereotype still hold true?
It’s a question that has been asked in Birmingham as part of a campaign to reposition the city as a leading university destination.
Marketing Birmingham, which is spearheading the rebrand, polled 1547 current and former students across the country in an attempt to find the truth.
The first myth to explode is the image of undergraduates crammed into crumbling run down housing with leaky roofs and mould all over on the wall.
According to the survey, almost 63 per cent of students today claim their accommodation is modern, well-maintained and tidy. And those memorable scenes of Rik Mayall and co living in bug-infested squalor was also turned on its head by the study which found women more likely to let their digs go to pot (11.7 per cent said they lived in mess) than their male counterparts (8.1 per cent).
Fifteen years ago your typical student was likely to be a flag-waving CND member with political activist tendencies who probably had a picture of the South American revolutionary Che Guevara plastered on their wall.
Today’s equivalent is more likely to support a children’s or third world charity (12 per cent) than a political party (2.2 per cent). The vast majority of students have their eyes firmly focused on a career rather than changing the world with nearly 70 per cent saying they decided to go to university to ensure better job prospects.
Most of today’s students see higher education as a “strategic move” (78.6 per cent) compared to 15 years ago when 60.2 per cent saw it that way.
A quarter of today’s students believed debt was to be expected in return for an education that would give them a better standard of living compared to 17 per cent a decade-and-a-half ago.
Modern students are also more studious with four in ten claiming to spend the majority of their time solely studying.