Prolonging Adolescence at “Party Schools”

by Jesse Saffron

In today’s Pope Center Clarion Call, George Leef discusses the party school phenomenon through the lens of sociology professor Karen Weiss’s new book, Party School: Crime, Campus, and Community.

Leef quotes one Party School passage describing the typical college student’s mindset: “For many students today, going to college is simply what young people do. With no particular ambition or plan of study, college is where young people go after high school to postpone adult responsibility and ‘party’ for four years.”

But Leef thinks that the “economics of the college experience” may soon make the prolonged adolescence identified by Weiss less prominent than it is now. 

“Employers have found out that college degrees do not necessarily betoken much knowledge or reliability and are starting to look for better indicators (such as e-portfolios with badges, certifications, and other demonstrations of competence) that do not require graduation from any college. As that movement continues, before long the mere possession of a generic degree from any school, and especially a ‘party school’ will be unavailing,” he writes.