What can students do to increase civic learning?
Every institution is different, but it is clear that when students take more relevant courses, and when those courses are of high quality, their learning increases. Our data show that students learn more when they are among peers with similar levels of preparation; courses should be matched to the levels of the students.
Future undergraduates should consider the findings from all of ISI's Civic Literacy Reports, keeping in mind that prestige does not pay off. U.S. News rankings offer some guidance, but it and others like it, do not measure the most important aspect of undergraduate education: what students are actually taught and what they actually learn.
Specifically, students can:
- Introduce a student government resolution in favor of more and better courses on American founding principles and the topics in our study.
- Form a student organization for the study of the American heritage, which will bring in speakers, advocate for curriculum improvement, etc.
- Contact your dean of students, chairs of history and political science departments, etc.
- Insist that professors teach American history, texts, and institutions and avoid promoting their own ideological biases.
- Write an article for the campus press.
- Write an editorial in the campus press.
- Stay away from the television and phone! Spend more free time talking about current events and history with friends and family, as well as reading, whether newspapers, history, biography, or fiction.
The Intercollegiate Studies Institute offers several resources of interest to students:
ISI's Membership Program for college-aged students (Free)
Asking the Right Questions in Choosing a College (Free)
John M. Olin Online Lecture Library (Free)
ISI's Graduate Fellowship Program
ISI's Undergraduate Honors Program
Simon Fellowship for Noble Purpose
Collegiate Network of Independent Newspapers
Student's Guides to the Major Disciplines (CollegeGuide.org)
Start the Presses! (ISI Books)
Additional resources can be found at www.CollegeGuide.org.