Thursday, September 19, 2013
An Experiment in College Student Advising Proves Successful
College graduation rates often lag behind college attendance rates. One theory as to why students do not complete college is that they lack key information about how to be successful or fail to act on the information that they have.
This study presents evidence from a randomized experiment which tests the effectiveness of individualized student coaching. Over the course of two separate school years, InsideTrack, a student coaching service, provided coaching to students attending public, private, and proprietary universities. Most of the participating students were nontraditional college students enrolled in degree programs. The participating universities and InsideTrack randomly assigned students to be coached. The coach contacted students regularly to develop a clear vision of their goals, to guide them in connecting their daily activities to their long-term goals, and to support them in building skills, including time management, self-advocacy, and study skills.
Students who were randomly assigned to a coach were more likely to persist during the treatment period and were more likely to be attending the university 1 year after the coaching had ended. Coaching also proved a more cost-effective method of achieving retention and completion gains when compared with previously studied interventions such as increased financial aid.