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Does college shape your world view or vice versa?

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    Does college shape your world view or vice versa?

    As I read the news, I constantly see polls on various topics, both political and not, that seem to show stark differences in results between those with at least a college degree and those without. It doesn't seem to matter if the issue is Black Lives Matter, police reform, Trump vs Biden, the Confederate flag, the COVID situation, or anything else. There is a clear divide in majority opinion, at last according to all of the polls, between those who attended college and those who did not.

    It made me wonder if attending college significantly impacts how people view the world or, conversely, if people who already hold a certain world view are more likely to attend college. Kind of a chicken vs egg discussion. Which comes first? Does going to college tend to make you more liberal or does being more liberal make it more likely that you will attend college? Obviously liberals and conservatives and democrats and republicans and independents all attend college, but overall college grads seem to generally hold more liberal views, support social justice causes in greater numbers, and be more likely to vote for candidates who also share those views.

    I looked up some stats and in 1950, only 5-6% of Americans had college degrees while today, it's 35-40%. And the number that has at least gotten some college education is around 65% so advanced education has gotten far more common over the past 6 or 7 decades. Might that demographic shift be a factor in a lot of the unrest that we're increasingly seeing in our society?

    Deep thoughts for a Tuesday morning.
    Steve

    * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
    * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
    * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

    #2
    Probably. There is indoctrination at all levels of eductation, and the younger a person is, the easier it is to mold his/her mind according to whatever the instructor's political leanings and beliefs. The best teachers are ones that attempt to present whatever topics they're teaching in a neutral manner and allow students to draw their own conclusions. It's this critical thinking process that is the distinction of an educated person, not how much garbage material or bias they can memorize and absorb in school.

    liberal vs conservative educational push probably largely depends on the makeup of the school you're attending. I took a hawaiiana course in college from a hawaiian. Guess what? teacher presented with pro-hawaiian overthrow was wrong bias, justified or not

    Comment


      #3
      For some maybe.

      When I was in college I had a few professors who were pretty far left and would constantly preach their beliefs during their classes.
      Some of the students latched onto it. Some did not.
      So, it's hard to say.

      I think a lot of people already have their belief system when they go to college from their upbringing up to that point.

      A lot of the people in my social circle could have cared less about politics.
      We had other things to occupy our time.

      Brian

      Comment


        #4
        I find it interesting that Especially recently in the last few years why many put so much beliefs in Polls.
        In general there have been studies that show some respondents will pick a higher level of education and more often higher income level when filling out multiple choice levels in polls.
        I think that many of the sites that do polling where you can earn gift cards or money ......some polls are looking for interest in one subject or another and people may answer in ways to earn rather then real life to level up to next prize / money payout.
        Often questions are worded to be too vague or misleading. For example offering choice and asking for closest to your thought that does not give data to support item just that it was the least objectionable choice.

        Like studies we would need more data as to size, bias and diversity of those polled.

        With that said I think people are shaped by many experiences and people in their life and college is one part of that.

        Comment


          #5
          I've never been a teacher in any formal sense, but I can imagine it's got to be really difficult to teach about any sort of challenging topic, like police brutality or racism, without exhibiting any personal opinion. A good teacher should be able to get everyone to discuss both sides of the issue, even if it's by playing Devil's Advocate, to help people advance their understanding of the topic and see things from the other side though.

          As for having one's beliefs formed from upbringing, there's definitely some truth to that but I also know many people who are complete opposites of their parents. One common theme in those cases is that the kids were often the first in their families to attend college and go out into the world, leaving the small often rural communities where they were raised. That gave them exposure to a far more diverse population and people with very different upbringings and beliefs. I'm sure that had something to do with shaping their own beliefs.
          Steve

          * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
          * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
          * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by Smallsteps View Post
            I find it interesting that Especially recently in the last few years why many put so much beliefs in Polls.
            In general there have been studies that show some respondents will pick a higher level of education and more often higher income level when filling out multiple choice levels in polls.
            I think that many of the sites that do polling where you can earn gift cards or money ......some polls are looking for interest in one subject or another and people may answer in ways to earn rather then real life to level up to next prize / money payout.
            Often questions are worded to be too vague or misleading. For example offering choice and asking for closest to your thought that does not give data to support item just that it was the least objectionable choice.

            Like studies we would need more data as to size, bias and diversity of those polled.

            With that said I think people are shaped by many experiences and people in their life and college is one part of that.
            I'm not talking about the "survey for prizes" sorts of things. I'm sure those are quite skewed. Heck, I used to do a ton of those for medical topics and I'll admit over time I learned what they were looking for so to avoid getting screened out, I would sometimes adjust my answers accordingly. But I don't think that's the case on more academic and legit surveys like those done by major media outlets and national polling companies.

            I agree completely with your last sentence, and it makes sense that college would be a big part of that. I went from a big city high school to a very small town college with a lot of classmates who came from a very rural upbringing. Religious differences. Some international students. Definitely a different population than I was raised with. It certainly expanded my world view.
            Steve

            * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
            * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
            * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

            Comment


              #7
              The problem with polls is one that I do for gift cards is OFTEN conducting polls for Media / and college studies and I have SEEN the name on news articles.
              So this still effects these type of polls. I have answered a few recently all on one site that were from NBC/ CBS and a few universities.

              People are often much better off if they can at least attempt to see another view but IMO far too many do not try to view a different way. That kind of growth can literally happen anywhere but it is often recognized in time spent in College or perhaps Military.
              My best story was a Critical thinking class was required when I was in college had the highest rate of people failing because they had been used to other professors leading them instead of teaching them to think.


              I would agree that being a teacher it would be hard to separate any bias but it really is something that should be measured by places they teach just as I would prefer a better job by media in checking bias at the office door too.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by Smallsteps View Post
                People are often much better off if they can at least attempt to see another view but IMO far too many do not try to view a different way. That kind of growth can literally happen anywhere but it is often recognized in time spent in College or perhaps Military.
                Exactly. I think anything that gets you out of the environment in which you were raised helps a great deal. That might be college. It might be travel. It might simply be moving to a different part of the country. Obviously the military would tick off all of those boxes too. I had friends in college who had literally never been out of their home state before that. It's tough to have a broad world view when you've only seen and experienced one tiny corner of the world.
                Steve

                * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
                * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
                * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

                Comment


                  #9
                  I think liberally-minded families and individuals are more likely to seek higher education. I think it's understood that rather than a time of indoctrination, it's a time of personal growth. I think the opposite camp is less likely to seek higher education; or if they do, it's more strongly focused on obtaining a degree strictly for employment purposes, a means to an end. The perspectives they are exposed to therein are sometimes mislabeled "indoctrination" simply because they do not want to hear them or open their minds to the discussions and be vulnerable to other information.

                  What I saw in my time at university was a mix of perspective and thought; some people really grew to change. Others held on to their pre-existing beliefs even tighter. I appreciate the experience more and more as I grow older. It was intellectually challenging, a period of strong personal growth. The student population was shockingly diverse. Lectures were intimate; groups of 20 or so. There was a huge focus on discussion, critical thinking, presenting and defending ideas. Attendance requirements were strict. So, not the typical college experience of going to a junior college, or huge public university. This was highly immersive. I found my own views to evolve during that time.

                  The school also had a religious affiliation, so I expected there was to be indoctrination. Quite the opposite. Much of the requisite religious coursework was focused on developing spirituality, studying world religions; not adhering to strict Judeo-Christian tradition like I expected. In fact, many courses and professors challenged those who were highly religious--to be certain of what they believed, but also why. Likewise, the academic courses were focused on developing thought, and practical application. The academic side often traversed into religious studies; for example, the ethics and law courses I took as part of my business studies were absolutely exhaustive in explorations of morality, right/wrong, just/unjust, etc.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by ua_guy View Post
                    The school also had a religious affiliation, so I expected there was to be indoctrination. Quite the opposite. Much of the requisite religious coursework was focused on developing spirituality, studying world religions; not adhering to strict Judeo-Christian tradition like I expected. In fact, many courses and professors challenged those who were highly religious--to be certain of what they believed, but also why. Likewise, the academic courses were focused on developing thought, and practical application. The academic side often traversed into religious studies; for example, the ethics and law courses I took as part of my business studies were absolutely exhaustive in explorations of morality, right/wrong, just/unjust, etc.
                    Same here. I grew up in a fairly traditional Jewish family and attended a Methodist college. I couldn't really tell you any more about the Methodist faith after 4 years there than I could have told you before I started. Religion played very little if any role in the education given there. We didn't even have to take any religion classes unless we chose to. Our requirement was religion/philosophy. I chose to take all philosophy classes with a remarkable professor who taught science-based philosophy classes. So we studied things like Darwin and the theory of evolution, hardly a conservative Christian topic.
                    Steve

                    * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
                    * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
                    * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Spend enough time around any particular group or environment during your formative years and it is bound to influence your opinion / views on things.
                      So yes, spending four years or more in college is bound to shape your views to some extent.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        To really know you'd have to differentiate between correlation and causation and in my opinion, there are too many factors to pinpoint exaclty if it's one over the other.. like most things it's probably a combination of the two.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          College forces people to coexist no matter the creed, religion, skin color and sexual orientation. So yes college students would be generally more accepting to less border protection and fight for BLM vs people who are never exposes to different types of people. It's very hard to argue that Muslims should be banned when your roommate is Islamic and is the opposite of how they portray them in the media. Generally college is like an utopia where everyone is chill, fully of life, and similar in age. They find getting along with their neighbors being the easiest thing in the world and doesn't understand all the negativity, division, and hate outside of the college bubble.

                          I don't remember any class pushing any kind of agenda or indoctrinating me. If you count giving everyone the opportunity to coexist despite our differences indoctrinating then so be it.
                          Last edited by Singuy; 06-30-2020, 10:37 AM.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Does emotional intelligence factor in here at all?

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by Singuy View Post
                              College forces people to coexist no matter the creed, religion, skin color and sexual orientation. So yes college students would be generally more accepting to less border protection and fight for BLM vs people who are never exposes to different types of people. It's very hard to argue that Muslims should be banned when your roommate is Islamic and is the opposite of how they portray them in the media. Generally college is like an utopia where everyone is chill, fully of life, and similar in age. They find getting along with their neighbors being the easiest thing in the world and doesn't understand all the negativity, division, and hate outside of the college bubble.

                              I don't remember any class pushing any kind of agenda or indoctrinating me. If you count giving everyone the opportunity to coexist despite our differences indoctrinating then so be it.
                              I think this is a great point, and is certainly one of the big values of college beyond the classroom education. Hate is a learned behavior. Even when you were raised to hate "the other" whoever the other happened to be (Black, Asian, Muslim, Jewish, gay) it's much harder to continue that hatred once you live among those you were taught to hate and find out that, hey, they are really no different than you.

                              So it sounds like most agree that college does tend to foster more liberal views.

                              Originally posted by ua_guy
                              I think liberally-minded families and individuals are more likely to seek higher education.
                              How about the other side of the question? Do you think this is generally true?

                              I had friends in college whose parents forbade them from taking certain classes that taught things contrary to their personal beliefs. So even though they were allowed to attend college, their parents only did so with the understanding that they couldn't engage in studies that might threaten their world view and expose them to broader ideas, which kind of defeats the point of going to college to some extent. I suspect if those parents could have prevented them from going to college entirely, they would have.
                              Steve

                              * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
                              * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
                              * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

                              Comment

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