The Vanishing Study Habits Of College Students

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What happened to this? (Paul O'Mara via Flickr)
What happened to this? (Paul O'Mara via Flickr)

A new study (PDF) finds that the amount of time college students spend studying has plummeted from a generation ago.

The average student at a four-year college today hits the books just 14 hours a week. That's down from 24 hours in 1961. And the phenomenon is found across the spectrum of colleges — from state schools to the Ivies. Maybe it's Facebook, or maybe it's the modern demands of work.

And yet, GPA's keep going up — as does the number of graduates. What's going on here?

We examine the study's finding with a researcher, a recent college graduate and the former president of Harvard University.

How much time did you spend studying? Does the Internet make traditional studying obsolete? Do students today just not do homework? Let us know in the comments.


  • Study author Mindy Marks, professor of economics at the University of California, Riverside
  • Derek Bok, president emeritus of Harvard University and researching professor at the Kennedy School of Government
  • Keith O'Brien, freelance journalist
  • Huw Roberts, Radio Boston intern and recent American University graduate ('09)

This program aired on July 9, 2010.


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