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Among the scholars who have argued for the importance of socially defined mating processes is Leon Kass, who has chronicled and lamented the demise of courtship.[1] Although few are likely to challenge Kass' contention that there has been a decline in the "wooing" of young women by young men, all while under the supervision of parents and other older adults, more debatable is Kass' argument that courtship has not been replaced by any effective institutionalized mating norms, or at least not by ones guided by older adults. More broadly, are young women today left to find the pathway to marriage completely on their own, or are there any social processes at work that help (or harm) them if they wish to achieve a happy marriage?

Although recent changes in mating practices on American college campuses have not been well documented, it is clear that there have been many changes in the context in which these practices occur.

For instance, since the middle of the 20th century, the relative numbers of men and women enrolled in institutions of higher learning have changed dramatically (see Figure 1, available only in the pdf version of this report).

In the past, social processes that guided young people toward marriage had a name: courtship.

Yet, just as the term courtship itself has faded away and has come to seem old-fashioned, the complex social networks that the term described appear also to have faded away, leaving some scholars to wonder whether any comparable institutions have risen to replace them.

Right" describes the attitudes and values of today's college women regarding sexuality, dating, courtship, and marriage.

Marriage is a major life goal for the majority of today's college women, and most would like to meet a spouse while at college; however, there are important aspects of the college social scene that appear to undermine the likelihood of achieving the goal of a successful future marriage.

Familiarity with marital breakups has also increased among relatives, friends, neighbors, and acquaintances of families that experienced divorce.

These changes have meant that college women today are less willing to rely on marriage for economic security, and have affected their attitudes about marriage and relationships in other ways as well.

At the same time, there is a growing discussion in the U. about marriage and its benefits for children and society.

Numerous scholars are conducting research that investigates how marriages succeed and how troubled marriages can be improved.

These changes, in addition to the important influences of the feminist movement, have brought about a dramatic change in women's motivations for attending college.

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