Why are so many young men taking a pass on college?

The Denver Post ran an article this weekend highlighting what I’m sure many people will see as a worrying statistic. The number of males entering and completing college with at least a four year degree is on the decline and it’s a figure which is being repeated in a number of states. 61.2 percent of Colorado’s female high school graduates attended college last fall, significantly more than the 51.8 percent of males who did. They being by highlighting the case of a young man named John Maxwell who dropped out of college after a single semester. While anecdotal in nature, he offers some of his reasons which might contribute to the larger conversation.

“I consider myself mostly self-taught and I just believe I should cut my own path in life,” said the 24-year-old Maxwell, who dropped out of Littleton’s Araphoe Community College after one semester.

Maxwell said he didn’t want to waste his parents’ money on college work that held little or no interest to him.

“I just wanted to see what I wanted to do with my life and college was never a part of that,” said Maxwell, currently an employee at a Parker liquor store. “It might cost me financially down the road, but I never really saw myself as getting rich anyway. So I don’t see it as much of a loss.”

While it’s just my personal observation, Maxwell is probably one of the worst examples they could have selected. Dropping out of school because you just assume that you’re never going to be successful and taking a job in a liquor store is a very sixties, Bob Dylanesque notion which is probably setting you up for failure. But some of his other concerns, along with those shared by various former students they interviewed, hold some hard truths.

If a young man looking at or entering college is wondering whether or not going $150K in debt before they earn their first paycheck is going to be worth it in an uncertain economy, who could blame them? And too many of the skills being pushed by their guidance counselors will lead them into careers which may be personally rewarding (if they are lucky) but don’t promise much in the way of job market opportunities or the top salaries required to pay off all those loans. At a time like that, thoughts of either the military, a trade school or some sort of apprenticeship program to enter the trades may look like a far better choice. And for some people it is.

But it’s not just the money and bleak prospects in the job market driving young men away. Perhaps part of it, as highlighted in this next example, has to do with the evolving cultural environment on our nation’s campuses. (Emphasis added.)

Others say the campus environment has become testy, even hostile, toward men. “You definitely get the sense you are the problem,” said Maxwell. “One woman once told me that she could use statistics to determine how many of my friends were rapists.”

Whatever the reason, enrollment data show men are becoming less of a presence on college campuses both in Colorado and across the United States.

Does that really come as a shock? With the entire “campus rape culture” theme which has been permeating the liberal media, what did you expect? If you have faculty, community organizers and even elected officials telling young women day after day that the boys in their schools are a mass of monsters waiting to strike, are you really going to act surprised if they start treating them that way? Combine that with the minefield of political correctness which so many universities have become, with protesting and marching being more important than actually gaining the education you’ll need to succeed in the world, and spending four years in such an institution probably looks less and less desirable.