Is College a Waste? For One in Three, It Doesn’t Help

“We got college men from LSU, went in dumb, come out dumb, too.”

Randy Newman made no friends at Louisiana State University with that line from his 1974 song, “Rednecks.” But if it’s any comfort to the Bayou Bengals, a new study of American college students says that after four years, 36 percent show no significant gains in learning. After two years, 45 percent show no significant gains.

“Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses,” surveyed more than 3,000 students at 29 colleges and universities and studied results on standardized tests. The students in the survey carried an average grade point average of 3.2.

Half said that in a typical semester, they never wrote a paper longer than 20 pages. Nearly a third said that in a typical semester, they never read more than 40 pages a week.

The big reason for all of this, the study said, is that colleges don’t make academics a priority. Instructors are more focused on their own research and careers, and students are more focused on their social lives.

“Shocking” and “disturbing” said the study’s lead author. If he’s shocked and disturbed, think of the parents who are laying out all that tuition money.

Republished from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, distributed by

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Chuck Briese, Oak Ridge Now

[avatar user="cbriese" size="thumbnail" align="left"] Chuck Briese has been a resident of South Montgomery County since 1988. He and his lovely and patient wife, Leslie, have six sons, with only one left to finish high school. Chuck has been a Cub Scout leader, a Little League baseball coach, a church youth leader, and a general troublemaker over the course of the past 25 years. He is obsessed with his lawn, and likes restaurants that serve food that fills up the plate. He has a tendency to tilt at windmills, which may explain why he started Oak Ridge Now.

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