College Majors and Church Attendance
The move to college has long been an exciting time for young adults, and one that is met with mixed emotions from parents. For families of faith, one of the biggest fears is how much negative influence the secular university will have on a young son or daughter.
Our research has debunked the myth that the influence of the secular university pushes young adults out of the church. No significant difference exists between the dropout rates of those who attend at least a year of college and those who do not. For those that attend college, 69% of active churchgoing youth stop attending church for at least a year between the ages of 18 and 22. Yet 71% of active youth who do not go to college stop attending church during the same period.
So overall, the college itself is not to blame for the dropout issue. What about analyzing different majors? New research from the University of Michigan reveals some surprising results on religiosity and the college major. They measure religiosity by religious attendance and how important students consider the importance of religion in their lives. Here are some highlights from the study:
- The odds of going to college increase for high school students who attend religious services more frequently or who view religion as more important in their lives.
- Being a humanities or a social science major has a statistically significant negative effect on religiosity.
- Students in education and business show an increase in religiosity over their time at college.
- Majoring in the biological or physical sciences does not affect religious attendance of students.
Clearly, we need strong believers in every field of study. So I don’t think it’s wise to shun certain majors (or schools) based simply upon this research. But what are your thoughts about these findings? Are there new reasons to fear the influence of the secular university?