5 Reasons Why College Students Are Studying Less

Last Updated Jul 13, 2010 12:51 PM EDT

College students are studying less.
Lots of research supports this homework claim, including a study from the University of California that documented that the typical college student in the 1960's studied an average of 24 hours a week. Now students study about 14 hours a week.

So what gives?

Mother Jones, the progressive magazine, asked students and professors to suggest why kids are spending less time on homework. Here are five of the reasons that they came up with to explain why college studying has declined:

1. Professors fear student evaluations.
If you're an untenured professor, do you want to alienate students by assigning them challenging homework? If you do, they might exact their revenge by giving you bad marks on RateMyProfessors.com or some other online professor evaluation. Too many unhappy students can thwart hopes for raises and promotions.

2. Technology makes it easier to do homework.
Students are staying out of libraries because they don't need them. When I was in college, most days I'd trek over to the library to study because it was a beautiful old building, it was quiet and it contained reference materials that I needed. Today, kids can get most of what they require by turning on their MacBook. The researchers at the University of California, however, poo-poo this idea because they say that the most significant slide in studying came before computers became ubiquitous.


3. College grades aren't as important anymore.
If all you've got to show a recruiter on your resume are sterling grades, you might not get the job. Employers are interested in college students who have had great internships and work experiences.


4. Schools are dropping language requirements.
If you aren't into languages, taking two or three semesters of Spanish, French or Arabic could be torture and require lots of homework. While my daughter is a Spanish major, my son was focused on attending a college without a language requirement and he ended up at one. More colleges are dropping language requirements to attract teenagers like my son.

5. Professors are preoccupied with research.
Being a great teacher isn't going to get you tenure, but generating research will. It's a lot easier for profs to forgo homework assignments that they might have to grade and instead give kids a free pass.

Lynn O'Shaughnessy is the author of The College Solution, an Amazon bestseller, and she also writes for TheCollegeSolutionBlog. Follow her on Twitter.
College studying image by quinn.anya. CC 2.0.

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