More Collegiate Trends…

john-belushi-college-poster-c10000320.jpgHere’s some more of the latest trends in student ministry, culture, and higher education from our friends over at the Ivy Jungle Network

Leaving Church in College:  This fall, thousands of students will leave their high school youth groups to head to college.  If the statistics are correct, most will never darken the door of a church once they set foot on campus.  Only 20% of students who attended church regularly in high school will do so in college.  Only 10% of students who identify themselves as Christians will attend church regularly while at school.  (Comment Magazine June 29, 2007). 

Reasons College Students Leave Church:   A survey by LifeWay Research indicates 70% of Protestants (evangelical and mainline) ages 18-30 quit attending church by age 23.  More than one third said they had not returned to church, even sporadically, by age 30.  According to the LifeWay survey only about half of respondents saw the church as “caring”(52%) or “welcoming” (48%) or “authentic” (42%).  Almost all (97%) cited life change such as moving as a reason they left the church.  58% said they were unhappy with a pastor or people at the church and 52% had religious, political, or ethical reasons for quitting.  Those who quit attending church have a much harsher view of people in the church than those who continue attending. Among the criticisms:  people in church are judgmental (51%) hypocritical (42%); and insincere (41%) According to the book UnChristian, even Christians in their 20’s are “significantly less likely to believe a person’s faith in God is meant to be developed by involvement in the local church.” ** (USA Today August 6, 2007)

Not Losing their Religion (as quickly):  For all the perils of college life with regard to faith, it turns out college students are less likely to walk away from their beliefs than those who never attend college.  The A study conducted by researchers at the University of Texas shows that young adults who never attend college are more likely to turn their back on religion than their peers in school.   Those earning a bachelor’s degree showed a 59% decline in attending religious services and a 15% decline in the “importance of religion.”  However, for those who did not attend college at all, 76% quit attending services and almost a quarter reported a “decline in the importance of religion.”  Researchers remarked that as many schools have moved toward more professional programs and less liberal arts driven curricula, students are no longer exposed to as many philosophical questions that challenge their beliefs.  They also have noted that more religious groups exist on campus and that religion is more accepted in both intellectual circles and campus life.  (University of Texas Office of Public Affairs News Release June 6, 2007) 

Facebook Sparks Roommate Concerns:  After roommate assignments for college dorms hit mailboxes in the middle of summer, residence life staff and housing officials found themselves again fielding numerous phone calls from parents expressing concerns about their son or daughter’s potential roommate.   Most often they have looked up the person’s profile on MySpace or Facebook and are concerned about party-related content.  Race, religion, and sexual orientation are also concerns voiced by parents.  Many schools will not make changes before school starts, a decision driven by a commitment to helping students meet new people or by capacity constraints.  Some schools have begun addressing the issue of looking up student profiles in parent and summer orientations.  (USA Today August 7, 2007)

Reasons College Students Have Sex:  A University of Texas Study has investigated why college students have sex.  The researchers compiled a list of 237 reasons given by students.  The number one reason – for both men and women – was attraction to the other person.  College men and women agreed on 20 of their top 25 reasons for engaging in sex.  Their top three reasons were attraction, to experience pleasure and “it feels good.”  While the gender differences appear small, the study did show men as more opportunistic with regards to sex.  Women are more likely to do it in order to please their partner. (AP July 31, 2007)

Pills the New Marijuana:  Prescirption drugs and “pharma parties” have become increasingly popular among teenager and college students.  The National Center on Alcohol and Substance Abuse reports that the proportion of college students abusing opiods (i.e Vicodin, etc.) has increased 343% between 1993 and 2005.  Tranquilizers (Xanax, Vallium, etc.) went up by 450% and abuse of stimulants like Adderall (an ADD medication) has increased by 93%.   These drugs are easy to find in many home medicine cabinets.  A CASA study in Minnesota and Wisconsin showed that almost a third of teenagers taking medication for ADHD had been approached to sell or trade their drugs.  (cnn.com July 5, 2007)

Video Game Addiction:  Most researchers won’t classify XBox, wii, or other video game systems as an addiction just yet, but many are becoming increasingly concerned about the addictive behaviors around video games – particularly for college students.  A University of Iowa study found that 80% of students – including virtually all of the males – play video games.  A Harris Interactive poll in April 2007 indicated about 10% of youth gamers could be classified as pathologically or clinically addicted to playing.  A study by the Pew Research Center reported that nearly half of college students who play video games said that playing kept them from studying “some” or “a lot”.  Almost one-third confessed to playing while in class.  In addition to playing, many gamers rely heavily on caffeine – particularly in the form of energy drinks – to fuel all night marathons.   Some college health officials are beginning to produce materials and plans to help students struggling with this addiction.  (Time.com August 9, 2007)

Piling up Debt:  College students should have a vested interest in the recent college loan investigations.  The average debt among recipients of bachelor’s degrees is now $19,300.  In addition, the average college senior carried another $2,864 in credit card debt.  (Chicago Tribune July 15, 2007 sec. 5 p. 5)

Highly Caffeinated:  Caffeine has long been a staple of college life.  However, students are arriving on campus more addicted than ever before.  Research shows that kids are drinking more caffeine and starting at younger ages than in the past.   With the ubiquity of Starbucks and other coffee shops, many begin drinking coffee by age 13.  Energy drinks have become increasingly popular as well.  The percentage of people ages 18-24 who drink coffee every day has doubled since 2003, from 16% to 31%.  (Washington Post.com  July 17, 2007)

Internet “Most Essential Media”:  The internet is second only to television nationally as the “most essential medium” in the country.  Five years ago it trailed both TV and radio.  However, it will likely pass TV soon as it is already in first place in every age bracket under the age of 45.  (Edison Media Report July 2007)

Teen Sex Declining:  The percentage of high school students having sex has declined to 47%, from a high of 54% in 1991.  The rates have leveled out some in the last few years, sparking some concern among abstinence advocates.  Birth rates among 15-19 year olds have declined sharply and condom use is at its highest.  The numbers come out of the nation’s most recent report on the well-being of the nation’s children.  The report also indicates a record high among students completing high school.  (July 13, 2007)

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~ by Shea Sumlin on August 26, 2007.

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