IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/tpr/edfpol/v13y2018i4p545-575.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

The Sequential College Application Process

Author

Listed:
  • Jonathan Smith

    (Andrew Young School of Policy Studies Georgia State University Atlanta, GA 30302-3992 Author email: jsmith500@gsu.edu)

Abstract

To demonstrate the sequential nature of the college application process, in this paper I analyze the evolution of applications among high-achieving low-income students through data on the exact timing of SAT score sends. I describe at what point students send scores to colleges and which score sends ultimately become applications, resulting in three main points. First, score sends are not synonymous with applications—rather, only 62 percent of score sends in this sample turn into applications. Second, the conversion from score send to application is nonrandom as it relates to college characteristics: Score sends are more likely to convert into applications when they are to colleges with lower tuition, higher graduation rates, and relatively near a student's home. Third, the timing of score sends is related to the probability of its becoming an application, whereby score sends sent relatively early are least likely to become applications. These facts imply that there is room for improvement when modeling the application process and, in addition, the timing of an intervention or policy may be critical to its success.

Suggested Citation

  • Jonathan Smith, 2018. "The Sequential College Application Process," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 13(4), pages 545-575, Fall.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:edfpol:v:13:y:2018:i:4:p:545-575
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/pdf/10.1162/edfp_a_00235
    Download Restriction: Access to PDF is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. David Card & Alan B. Krueger, 2005. "Would the Elimination of Affirmative Action Affect Highly Qualified Minority Applicants? Evidence from California and Texas," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 58(3), pages 416-434, April.
    2. Hector Chade & Gregory Lewis & Lones Smith, 2014. "Student Portfolios and the College Admissions Problem," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 81(3), pages 971-1002.
    3. Terry Long, B.Bridget, 2004. "How have college decisions changed over time? An application of the conditional logistic choice model," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 121(1-2), pages 271-296.
    4. Jessica S. Howell, 2010. "Assessing the Impact of Eliminating Affirmative Action in Higher Education," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 28(1), pages 113-166, January.
    5. Scott Carrell & Bruce Sacerdote, 2017. "Why Do College-Going Interventions Work?," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 124-151, July.
    6. Peter Arcidiacono, 2005. "Affirmative Action in Higher Education: How Do Admission and Financial Aid Rules Affect Future Earnings?," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(5), pages 1477-1524, September.
    7. Timothy N. Bond & George Bulman & Xiaoxiao Li & Jonathan Smith, 2018. "Updating Human Capital Decisions: Evidence from SAT Score Shocks and College Applications," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 36(3), pages 807-839.
    8. Susan M. Dynarski & Steven W. Hemelt & Joshua M. Hyman, 2013. "The Missing Manual: Using National Student Clearinghouse Data to Track Postsecondary Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 19552, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Caroline Hoxby & Christopher Avery, 2013. "The Missing "One-Offs": The Hidden Supply of High-Achieving, Low-Income Students," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 44(1 (Spring), pages 1-65.
    10. Amanda Pallais, 2015. "Small Differences That Matter: Mistakes in Applying to College," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(2), pages 493-520.
    11. Lindsay C. Page & Judith Scott-Clayton, 2015. "Improving College Access in the United States: Barriers and Policy Responses," NBER Working Papers 21781, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Eleanor Wiske Dillon & Jeffrey Andrew Smith, 2017. "Determinants of the Match between Student Ability and College Quality," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 35(1), pages 45-66.
    13. Dennis Epple & Richard Romano & Holger Sieg, 2006. "Admission, Tuition, and Financial Aid Policies in the Market for Higher Education," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(4), pages 885-928, July.
    14. Smith, Jonathan & Pender, Matea & Howell, Jessica, 2013. "The full extent of student-college academic undermatch," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 247-261.
    15. Long, M.C.Mark C., 2004. "College applications and the effect of affirmative action," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 121(1-2), pages 319-342.
    16. Chao Fu, 2014. "Equilibrium Tuition, Applications, Admissions, and Enrollment in the College Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 122(2), pages 225-281.
    17. Conlin, Michael & Dickert-Conlin, Stacy & Chapman, Gabrielle, 2013. "Voluntary disclosure and the strategic behavior of colleges," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 96(C), pages 48-64.
    18. Toutkoushian, Robert K., 2001. "Do parental income and educational attainment affect the initial choices of New Hampshire's college-bound students?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 245-262, June.
    19. Devin G. Pope & Jaren C. Pope, 2009. "The Impact of College Sports Success on the Quantity and Quality of Student Applications," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 75(3), pages 750-780, January.
    20. Michael Luca & Jonathan Smith, 2013. "Salience in Quality Disclosure: Evidence from the U.S. News College Rankings," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 22(1), pages 58-77, March.
    21. DesJardins, Stephen L. & Dundar, Halil & Hendel, Darwin D., 1999. "Modeling the College Application Decision Process in a Land-Grant University," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 117-132, February.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Joshua Goodman & Oded Gurantz & Jonathan Smith, 2020. "Take Two! SAT Retaking and College Enrollment Gaps," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 12(2), pages 115-158, May.
    2. Joshua Goodman & Michael Hurwitz & Christine Mulhern & Jonathan Smith, 2019. "O Brother, Where Start Thou? Sibling Spillovers in College Enrollment," NBER Working Papers 26502, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Gurantz, Oded & Pender, Matea & Mabel, Zachary & Larson, Cassandra & Bettinger, Eric, 2020. "Virtual advising for high-achieving high school students," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 75(C).

    More about this item

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:tpr:edfpol:v:13:y:2018:i:4:p:545-575. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Ann Olson). General contact details of provider: https://www.mitpressjournals.org/ .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.