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Fall Forward or Spring Back? Evaluating Student Outcomes of a Fall-Semester Transition Program at a Public Flagship University


  • Lapid, Patrick Andrew

    (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau)


Does the structure of the first-year college experience affect students’ graduation outcomes? I investigate this question by evaluating UC Berkeley’s Fall Program for Freshmen (FPF), a fall-semester program for undergraduates admitted for the following spring semester. During the fall semester, FPF participants take introductory courses and receive advising at a separate campus blocks away from UC Berkeley, while living and socializing with regular UC Berkeley students; in the spring semester, FPF participants then matriculate to the main campus. I analyze UC Berkeley admissions and registrar data and show that FPF participants are similar to fall-semester matriculants in their admission characteristics and predicted graduation rates. However, across a variety of treatment effect models, I estimate that FPF participants have a 3–4 percentage-point increase in their four- and six-year graduation rates compared to fall-semester matriculants. FPF participants with below-median high school GPAs and SAT scores have larger increases in their likelihood to graduate. Estimates adjusted for unobservable selection bias (Oster, 2017) are similar in magnitude and direction to my main estimates.

Suggested Citation

  • Lapid, Patrick Andrew, 2018. "Fall Forward or Spring Back? Evaluating Student Outcomes of a Fall-Semester Transition Program at a Public Flagship University," SocArXiv 8vwhd, Center for Open Science.
  • Handle: RePEc:osf:socarx:8vwhd
    DOI: 10.31219/

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