College Transition Initiative

Welcome to the blog of the Center for Parent/Youth Understanding’s (CPYU) College Transition Initiative (CTI). This site contains commentary on transitional issues, exploring research, trends and college student culture. For more information visit:

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Location: Elizabethtown, PA, United States

The transition from high school to college is a difficult one, and yet, it is a transition that is often overlooked. This site is to help college bound students, parents, and youth workers stay up to date on the latest research and trends in regards to college transition. Your comments are greatly appreciated. Join the conversation!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Does College Turn Kids Secular?

The main focus of this blog is to bring to your attention research and trends in regards to college transition. I occasionally offer commentary if I find it appropriate, but I'm more concerned that people are connected to helpful information. I once read that there are two types of blogs: thinking and linking. This would definitely be the latter. My goal is to link you with good things to read and cut down on your navigation time. I find that the blogs I read the most often are ones the point me in the direction of helpful resources.

I do offer extending commentary on transitional issues, however. Quarterly for CPYU's Engage Journal, and occasionally I'm asked to write for other publications. I'm telling you this, because where I'm going to point you next does require further commentary, and I hope to write something about it soon.

Sociologists Mark Regnerus and Jeremy Uecker have written an intriguing article basically saying that college does not turn kids secular (READ IT HERE). You can read a short interview with Mark Regnerus at Christianity Today here.

Their main point is that the trajectory of students' lives are "set" long before college, and nothing really happens in college to change fundamental beliefs. Today, college is about getting a degree to get a job and rarely are students asked to wrestle deeply with ideas that change a person's worldview.

This is interesting, of course, because it is the exact opposite conclusion that LifeWay Research released last week. How can this be? Feel free to offer your thoughts.

I think I'm going to read some more and, perhaps, an article will come out of it!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Students Head Back to Campus... and Spend Lots of Money

What happens when the current class of college students represents $198 billion in consumer spending power and significantly increases discretionary spending to $48 billion annually? They get surveyed by marketing experts!

Harris Interactive, the 13th largest and fastest-growing market research firm in the world teamed up with Alloy Media + Marketing, one of the country’s largest providers of nontraditional media programs reaching targeted consumer segments, to survey the class of 2011. From the press release:

“The largest college class in history (students ages 18-30) has evolved in three key areas: communication modality, purchase behavior, and concern over world issues. First and most operative distinction, technology has taken students out of the dorm room and morphed communication into mobile rapid fire exchanges fraught with ‘pokes’ and alerts. Four short years ago, being ‘wired’ referred to an over-caffeinated all-nighter, and friends met up on the quad without the option of today’s ‘online’ student union. ‘Friending’ your professor may not seem the proper student-teacher etiquette to the old brigade but for today’s class, it’s the most efficient way to get the grade.

‘The distinct comparisons we’ve seen from the 2003 study will have considerable impact on how groups eager to attract the attention of this ever-growing and powerful consumer group should be reaching them,’ stated Dana Markow, VP Research, Harris Interactive. ‘Perpetual advancements in technology have had notable impact on students’ daily conduct and as we head into an election year, we’re seeing a class that’s assuming more control over their future.’

Read the entire press release here.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Why College Students Have Sex

CNN reports:

"After exhaustively compiling a list of the 237 reasons why people have sex, researchers found that young men and women get intimate for mostly the same motivations.

It's more about lust in the body than a love connection in the heart.

College-aged men and women agree on their top reasons for having sex -- they were attracted to the person, they wanted to experience physical pleasure and 'it feels good,' according to a peer-reviewed study in the August edition of Archives of Sexual Behavior."

Women's Top Ten
1. I was attracted to the person
2. I wanted to experience physical pleasure
3. It feels good
4. I wanted to show my affection to the person
5. I wanted to express my love for the person
6. I was sexually aroused and wanted the release
7. I was "horny"
8. It's fun
9. I realized I was in love
10. I was "in the heat of the moment"

Men's Top Ten
1. I was attracted to the person
2. It feels good
3. I wanted to experience physical pleasure
4. It's fun
5. I wanted to show my affection to the person
6. I was sexually aroused and wanted the release
7. I was "horny"
8. I wanted to express my love for the person
9. I wanted to achieve an orgasm
10. I wanted to please my partner

You can watch a video about the report here.

Friday, August 10, 2007

LifeWay Researches Church Drop Outs

I was in Canada on Tuesday morning and stumbled across an interesting article in The Globe about Denver Broncos’ kicker Jason Elam. The article, Elam brushes up on religious studies, explains why the 37-year-old NFL star is pursuing a master of divinity degree. Elam said that it all started in college: “I was just this Atlanta, Southern, country guy and went off to college and I had friends from all over the world and with that diversity came a big diversity in faith. And I had never met a Mormon or a Jehovah's Witness or a Muslim or an atheist or a Baha'i. I had never met those people before.”

Surrounded by the diversity, Elam began to think more thoroughly about why he believed the things he believed. College, for Elam, was about settling in on deepest convictions, dealing honestly with his own doubts and coming out the other side stronger in his Christian faith. He continues to grow and learn, with an “off-season” schedule of mission’s trips and graduate classes, even taking courses at Oxford.

But Elam’s story is not like many teenage Christians who head off to college. For reasons given in LifeWay’s new research, a large percentage of students drop out of church after high school. From the website:

“A new study from LifeWay Research reveals that more than two-thirds of young adults who attend a Protestant church for at least a year in high school will stop attending church regularly for at least a year between the ages of 18 and 22.

As young people transition from high school into the workforce or college life, they are faced with many choices – including whether to continue attending church. Although this decision is a source of concern for parents and church leaders, discussion of the reasons young adults choose the direction they do has largely been speculative.

‘Lots of alarming numbers have been tossed around regarding church dropouts,’ said Ed Stetzer, director of LifeWay Research, the research arm of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. ‘We wanted to get at the real situation with clear research – and there is some bad news here, no question. But, there are also some important solutions to be found in the research. When we know why people drop out, we can address how to help better connect them.’"

You can learn more about the research here.

USAToday provides a nice summary of the findings here.

On a similar note, John Seel has written a very important article which gets at the heart of this issue. Seel contends that most students don’t attend church because they don’t understand why church attendance is vital to life and faith. You can read his insightful Making the most of college: Recovering the Lost Logic of Church here.