College: A Foundation for Lifelong Learning

 College provides a strong foundation for a lifetime of learning and intellectual and cognitive development.

The following are just some examples of the benefits:

  • A broad educational experience provides communication skills as well as creative and critical thinking skills.

  • One report from the American Association of Colleges and Universities stated that this type of “education is the best and most powerful way to build students’ capacities to form reasoned judgments about complex issues.” Importantly, reasoned judgment is not only a critical competency women need in the workplace, but also a skill needed for effective contributions in politics, communities, churches, and homes.

  • Research shows that women in particular receive valuable development opportunities in the areas of verbal and writing skills, interpersonal and teamwork abilities, quantitative and analysis skills, critical thinking, reflective judgment, principled moral reasoning, integrating ideas and concepts, gaining content knowledge in various fields, and learning effectively on their own. College graduates also have a considerable advantage in comparison to high school graduates when it comes to factual knowledge.

Intellectual Growth

College graduates are much more likely to engage in activities that add to their knowledge base after graduation. Students who continue their education select interests and activities—such as serious reading or continued education—that enhance learning.

Incoming freshmen increased their functionality in core areas from the 50th to 60th percentile after only two years of college. Further estimates reveal that the net effects of college in mathematics, science, English, and social studies range from “about 60 percent to 75 percent of the simple freshman-to-senior difference.” Intellectual growth continues to develop at the same rate after college and appears to continue through adulthood.

In the areas of mathematics, science, and reading comprehension, the evidence indicates an “intergenerational impact of parental exposure to postsecondary education on sons’ and daughters’ learning.”  (Source: Utah Women and Education Key Facts )