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The Effects of College Counseling on High-Achieving, Low-Income Students

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  • Christopher Avery

Abstract

This paper reports the results of a pilot study, using a randomized controlled trial to provide college counseling to high-achieving students from relatively poor families. We followed 107 high school seniors through the college admissions process in 2006-2007; we selected 52 of these students at random, offering them ten hours of individualized college advising with a nearby college counselor. The counseling had little or no effect on college application quality, but does seem to have influenced the choice of where the students applied to college. We estimate that students offered counseling were 7.9 percentage points more likely than students not offered counseling to enroll in colleges ranked by Barron's as "Most Competitive", though this effect was not statistically significant. More than one-third of the students who accepted the offer of counseling did not follow through on all of the advice they received. Going beyond the framework of the randomized experiment, our statistical analysis suggests that counseling would have had approximately twice as much effect if all students matched with counselors had followed the advice of the counselors.

Suggested Citation

  • Christopher Avery, 2010. "The Effects of College Counseling on High-Achieving, Low-Income Students," NBER Working Papers 16359, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16359
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    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w16359.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Jacob L. Vigdor & Charles T. Clotfelter, 2003. "Retaking the SAT," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 38(1).
    2. Christopher Avery & Caroline Minter Hoxby, 2004. "Do and Should Financial Aid Packages Affect Students' College Choices?," NBER Chapters,in: College Choices: The Economics of Where to Go, When to Go, and How to Pay For It, pages 239-302 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Christopher Avery & Thomas J. Kane, 2004. "Student Perceptions of College Opportunities. The Boston COACH Program," NBER Chapters,in: College Choices: The Economics of Where to Go, When to Go, and How to Pay For It, pages 355-394 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Christopher Avery & Caroline Hoxby & Clement Jackson & Kaitlin Burek & Glenn Pope & Mridula Raman, 2006. "Cost Should Be No Barrier: An Evaluation of the First Year of Harvard's Financial Aid Initiative," NBER Working Papers 12029, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Smith Jonathan, 2013. "The Effect of College Applications on Enrollment," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 14(1), pages 151-188, December.
    2. Pistolesi, Nicolas, 2017. "Advising students on their field of study: Evidence from a French University reform," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 106-121.
    3. Christopher Avery, 2013. "Evaluation of the College Possible Program: Results from a Randomized Controlled Trial," NBER Working Papers 19562, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. repec:eee:ecoedu:v:60:y:2017:i:c:p:86-96 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Caroline Hoxby & Sarah Turner, "undated". "Expanding College Opportunities for High-Achieving, Low Income Students," Discussion Papers 12-014, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
    6. Eleanor Wiske Dillon & Jeffrey Andrew Smith, 2013. "The Determinants of Mismatch Between Students and Colleges," NBER Working Papers 19286, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Hestermann, Nina & Pistolesi, Nicolas, 2016. "Does the Provision of Information on their Skills Affect Students' Enrollment Choices?," TSE Working Papers 16-650, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
    8. repec:eee:labeco:v:47:y:2017:i:c:p:48-63 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Borghans, Lex & Golsteyn, Bart H.H. & Stenberg, Anders, 2013. "Does Expert Advice Improve Educational Choice?," IZA Discussion Papers 7649, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    10. Karen Jeong Robinson & Josipa Roksa, 2016. "Counselors, Information, and High School College-Going Culture: Inequalities in the College Application Process," Research in Higher Education, Springer;Association for Institutional Research, vol. 57(7), pages 845-868, November.
    11. Avery, Christopher, 2014. "The Amherst Telementoring Program for High-Achieving, Low-Income Students: Results of a Pilot Study with a Randomized Controlled Trial," Working Paper Series rwp14-055, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education
    • I22 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Educational Finance; Financial Aid
    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions

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