As college graduates facing barren job markets, many are wondering if getting a degree was worth the time and effort, with “only limited improvement in the skills necessary to be successful in today’s knowledge-based economy.”

Arum and Roksa, professors at that many students were not being appropriately challenged.” 

“In a typical semester, 50% of students did not take a single course requiring more than 20 pages of writing, 32% did not have any classes that required reading more than 40 pages per week, and 36% reported studying alone five or fewer hours per week.”

Students who push themselves can find challenging programs, the authors say. At many schools, however, “students can choose from a menu of easy programs and classes that allow them to graduate without having received a rigorous college education.”

“Improvement in thinking and writing skills requires academic engagement; simply hanging out on a college campus for multiple years isn’t enough,” they write.

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