Finding the “Fit” for Top-Performing Low-Income Students
In Miami last week at the College Board Forum, Caroline M. Hoxby, an economics professor at Stanford University, discussed some of her research that looks at some of the missteps that low-income students experience in pursuit of a college education.
The Chronicle writes, a staggering number of high-achieving low-income students – roughly 82 percent of an annual cohort consisting of 35,000 – do not apply to colleges that are thought to be “good fits,” at which students from similar backgrounds experience success. Many of these students do not possess savvy in the application process, limiting their college search to too few schools and often relying upon recommendations rather than seeking out the schools that appeal most to their ideals for a college experience. As a result, these students are more likely to attend schools that are less selective than they are qualified to attend.
So who are these students and how can colleges better recruit them? Hoxby’s research identifies the affected group as students coming from large urban areas, often under-served by their schools, who are “isolated” as one of few high-achievers in their peer group. Schools who target these students by mail more so than electronic communication (or better – in person), do well in recruiting and ultimately changing the outcomes of low-income students.