The topics of differential recruitment to activism and its longer-term impacts have generated substantial empirical research. Yet, the lack of longitudinal studies of movement participation have limited our understanding of individual activism’s dynamics over time. Here, we use six years of longitudinal survey data and two waves of interview data from a class of college students before, throughout, and after college to examine predictors of variation in college activism, the ebb and flow of activism over the course of college, and the effect of college activism on activism two years post-graduation. Our findings dispute one consistent empirical claim in social movement studies and confirm another. Counter to the scholarly finding on the weak impact of predisposition on recruitment, we find that predisposition powerfully predicts variation in college activism. Consistent with the claim that significant early activism is linked with future activism, we find that students’ activism at the end of college significantly predicts their engagement in activism after graduation.

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