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Can High Schools Reduce College Enrollment Gaps with a New Counseling Model? (WP-11-06)

Jennifer Stephan and James Rosenbaum

Despite planning to attend college, disadvantaged students enroll in two-year or less-selective colleges at disproportionately high rates. Beyond cost and academic achievement, previous research finds that a lack of college-related social capital poses barriers. However, little research investigates whether schools can change students’ social capital. The researchers examine whether, how, and for whom a new counseling model aimed at creating social capital improves college enrollment. Following nearly all Chicago public school seniors through the fall after high school, they find that coaches improve the types of colleges students attend by getting students to complete key actions, with the most disadvantaged students benefiting. This suggests that targeting social capital might improve the high school-to-college transition for disadvantaged students.

Jennifer Stephan, Researcher, American Institutes for Research

James Rosenbaum, Professor of Education and Social Policy and Fellow, Institute for Policy Research, Northwestern University

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