As a college student, I cannot begin to tell you how many times I've heard people talk about how someone they know went off to college and "became a liberal," "went wild," or apparently "lost their religion."
These people give entirely too much credit to the "person" they believed these young people to have been in the first place.
There are two major problems with this idealism that college "changes" people. Rarely is this the case.
Change is defined as:
Change is the state of becoming something or someone else entirely; transitioning into something completely different.
This type of change even isn't possible when you have individuals who have never been solidified in who they were to begin with.
Researchers and scientists agree that the brain isn't fully mature until your mid-twenties. So, not only are newly college-aged students generally encountering new types of emotional and cognitive challenges, their cognitive identity isn't even fully developed yet.
This leads to having college-aged students ultimately altering their schemas to adapt to new information and maturation. Which, this can obviously be done on a mild level. This is something we all do every time we experience or learn something new.
But, despite the biological and psychological developmental factors, to which there are definitely exceptions to the rule, we also have to recognize that fact that it's not only rare in general for people in their very early adulthood to have an extremely solidified identity, but it's extremely rare in this day and time.
These people aren't going off to college and having a major identity change; that would require they have a solidified one to start with.
We currently live in a climate where everything that you're taught as an adolescent is a blanket statement.
You're schooling, sports, and extracurriculars are tailored to meet the need of the group. You're encouraged to not voice your political, religious, or personal beliefs of any sort in school if they differ from the majorities.
We live with a huge of kids coming to college who have either never had a true, deep-rooted opinion of their own, choosing to always trust in majority rule.
It's impossible to change an opinion you never had before.