Alternative procedures to support college applications across an urban school system: forms they take and how they work

Project: Research project

Project Details


In the college application process, low-income students encounter many obstacles that lead them to enroll in less-selective colleges that undermatch their qualifications. This reduces students’ chances of completing college, since resources to support students and graduation rates increase with college selectivity. This study will examine how high school counselors can address undermatch and support students’ college applications through two low-cost procedures: (1) monitoring and nudging students during the application process, and (2) developing trusted relationships with college representatives. Previous research suggests that these procedures may be helpful, but their use in schools is poorly understood. We will study the forms these procedures take, how counselors make them work, to what extent they are used, and how they differ in schools that vary in socioeconomic and racial composition. This mixed-methods study includes two components: analyses of a survey of 188 counselors from all high schools in a large urban school district and in-depth interviews with 30 counselors from a subset of 6 diverse schools. The study seeks to help school leaders and counseling departments better understand various forms these procedures can take, and how they are used to improve college advising and students’ college application outcomes.
Effective start/end date5/1/1910/31/21


  • Spencer Foundation (201900210)


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