Saturday, May 14, 2016

Data shows that college liberalizes students

I was curious if college liberalizes students. Common sense tells me it does, but I have seen research that throws doubt on the idea.

Listed below are the mean conservatism scores by year of college for those attending college since 2000 (General Social Survey data).

Mean conservatism

Freshmen  4.04
Sophomores  3.71

Juniors  3.62
Seniors  3.69

Students tend to get more liberal as they move through college. The shift from the freshman to junior year is almost half a standard deviation, which means it is a fairly big change.  So it does look like academics are somewhat successful at their goal of turning our youth into progressives. They seem to have the most luck in the first three years--the seniors are no more liberal than juniors.

3 comments:

IHTG said...

Does this take college dropouts into account?

Ron Guhname said...

Dropouts are a little bit more conservative than non-dropouts. Students who are younger than their classmates seem to be significantly more liberal.

SFG said...

Any way to prove cause and effect? Look at community colleges? People who drop out each year?

(I believe you...college is so liberal it's got to have some effect...)