The article opens by talking about a study which showed that males in college are more likely to have committed a property crime than their peers who are not in college. I'm not surprised, and I would bet that a similar trend exists for substance crimes and especially sexual assault. Having staffed the rape crisis line in a college town that is constantly plagued by one high-profile campus rape or another, I can say that there's something about the college atmosphere that promotes that kind of predation.
The most relevant portions of the article are below:
"During adolescence, the prospect of attending college was positive. The researchers found that college-bound youth were less likely to be involved in criminal activity and substance use during adolescence than kids who weren’t headed for college.
But college attendance appears to trigger some surprising changes. When male students enrolled in four-year universities, levels of drinking, property theft and unstructured socializing with friends increased and surpassed rates for their less-educated male peers.
The reason appears to be that kids who don’t go to college simply have to grow up more quickly. College enrollment allows for a lifestyle that essentially extends the adolescent period, said Patrick M. Seffrin, the study’s primary investigator and a graduate student and research assistant in the department of sociology and the Center for Family and Demographic Research at Bowling Green State University.
College delays entry into adult roles like marriage, parenting and full-time work. Instead, college students have lots of unstructured social time. Other studies have linked unstructured socializing or “hanging out” with higher levels of delinquency and risk taking."
The full article is here.
So what's the answer? Only that college itself isn't going to miraculously land you a good job, or make you a good person; that if you're not careful, it can do the opposite. That perhaps it makes more sense to look back toward more traditional vocational/apprenticeship training, which was clearly focused toward an end (a productive, successful job), as opposed to glorying in the increasingly self-indulgent means. And an education which focused on efficiently obtaining useful skills, rather than racking up a predetermined number of credit hours (and an undetermined amount of debt) might better serve society at large and our college students.