Inside the Black Box: College Graduation and Civic Engagement [Book Review]

Journal of Academic Ethics 10 (4):313-325 (2012)
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Scholars agree that college graduation is positively associated with civic engagement. They are less certain about why. College graduates are more likely to grow up in advantaged households and have higher household income and access to social capital after graduation than non-graduates. These pre and post college factors are positively related to civic engagement. However, some suggest that college itself encourages graduates to be more involved. The goal of this study was to compare the pre college, college, and post college predictors of civic engagement using data from surveys of over 5,000 alumni of a large U.S. public university. Results show that college extracurricular activities and discipline studied in college, and post college social capital are the most important predictors of graduates' civic engagement. These findings help explain why college graduates are more involved, advance social capital theory, and suggest strategies for increasing civic engagement



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