The transition from high school to college is a tumultuous journey filled with challenges and changes. During this time of transformation, will a student change something as personal and defining as religion? We surveyed a random sample of 175 Cornell College students to determine whether or not students change their religion and the reason for doing so. The survey also included questions about the frequency of religious participation and worship, as well as how satisfied a student is with his/her religion’s views on various controversial topics.
In general, our results matched our various hypotheses. We found that spirituality is more important to Cornell students than religion, both overall and when broken down by gender or specific religion (Catholic or Protestant). The reason a student participates in religion and gender were found to be dependent. We examine whether or not students are satisfied with their respective religion’s views on homosexuality, abortion, and the death penalty. We also see that there is a dependency between sharing a parent’s religion and reason for religious involvement. Finally, we find that many students who changed their religion did so in their first year out of high school, and actually converted to having no religion at all.
The inquiry that began this study appeared simple and direct. A simple yes or no might appear to suffice as an answer, but the reality our study unearthed was a multi-faceted gem of partial or full answers and, as always, more questions.
Brandi Logan, ’05 Poplar Grove , IL
Majors: Mathematics and Sociology
Franziska Zgraggen, ’04 New Glarus , WI
Majors: Mathematics, Secondary Education and German
Amy Winter, ’04 Libertyville , IL
Majors: Economics & Business and Mathematics
Sponsor: Ann Cannon