The Ivy Coach Daily

April 17, 2011

Assistance with College Applications

The authors of the bestselling and controversial “Freakonomics,” Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner, point out an interesting study by Christopher Avery on students who get assistance with college applications. In a study in which low-income high school students who were high achievers in the classroom were provided college counseling, the students were more likely to gain admission to top universities of their choice. And they were more likely to gain admission if they actually listened to the precise advice of college counselors.

According to Levitt and Dubner, “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,’ [said Christopher Avery]. One big problem with the pilot program? Over one-third of the students matched with college counselors didn’t follow through on all of their counselor’s advice. ’[O]ur 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,’ concludes Avery. So how about combining counseling with a few well-placed nudges?” According to Avery’s study, being provided guidance and assistance with college applications can be the difference between getting in…or not.

Check out the “Freakonomics” blog post on the achievement gap and college counseling here.

Read our related blog on grades and college success (and how it all ties in with Michael Lewis’ bestseller “Moneyball”). And check out the benefits of college counseling here.

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