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Keywords:

  • adolescence;
  • educational attainment;
  • informal mentoring

Although research has found a positive relationship between various forms of adolescent religious involvement and educational outcomes, little research has examined connections to educational attainment. Using a nationally representative sample of youth (the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health—Add Health), we examine the extent to which adolescent religiosity facilitates educational attainment (i.e., high school completion and college enrollment) and whether informal mentorships formed during adolescence with religious and nonreligious adults can help explain the link between adolescent religious involvement and educational attainment. The findings confirm that, like academic outcomes, religious youth are more likely to complete high school and enroll in college even when controlling for other individual and interpersonal factors that affect educational attainment. Furthermore, informal mentorships, particularly those with adults who have official religious positions (e.g., priest, minister, rabbi) play an important role in college enrollment.