Does College Make a Difference? Long-Term Changes in Activities and Attitudes


This volume comprehensively examines the long-term effects of higher education on attitudes and activities of a large, nationally representative sample of high school students who graduated in 1972. The authors hold that what people want from higher education depends on core American values. The authors question whether colleges foster new attitudes that lead to new types of behavior, or if colleges confer new identities upon students by bestowing certificates and degrees. The chapters give particular attention to the impact of college on career success, expressive individualism, civic commitment, and changes in self-concept. The study is strengthened by its use of data on those high school graduates who did not attend college, and by following high school graduates until they are about 32 years old. The book concludes by examining the significance of the authors' findings for higher education curriculum policy.