Associate Professor June Ahn is Co-Investigator on an IES partnerships grant to develop and test a mentorship model for extending advising to college-accepted high school graduates during the summer months after graduation: "Designing Crowdsourced Mentorship to Support Low-Income High School Students' College Enrollment."
Prior research has documented a pattern of “summer melt” in which motivated and academically-prepared high school graduates who have been accepted to college decide not to enroll in college. Summer melt is especially prevalent among low-income, African American, and Latinx students. Through prior research, the partnership team identified a set of barriers that contribute to summer melt for New York City (NYC) high school students and concluded that combining the transmission of college knowledge with support for students' development of college-bound identity is a potential solution to this problem. This project will explore how to scale mentorship via a text-messaging application that incorporates social and emotional supports and coordinates personal interactions between students and a large team (or “crowd”) of mentors.
This project will take place in New York City. The sample for this partnership project includes approximately 1,000 recent graduates from 15 NYC high schools who have received advising from New York City College Advising Corps. Researchers will randomly assign half of the college-accepted graduates at each of the 15 high schools to receive the crowdsourcing application. The team will use logistic regression to assess treatment-control differences on key outcomes of interest and will also develop regression models to explore the relationship between specific mentorship experiences (via text), college-bound identity and knowledge, and enrollment decisions. Partner institutions are New York City College Advising Corps (NY CAC), New York University (NYU), University of California-Irvine (UCI), and City University of New York (CUNY).
The partnership aims to significantly increase college enrollment among college-accepted students through its crowdsourced mentorship application and will generate preliminary evidence of the efficacy of this digital tool. The grant will run from September 2018 through August 2020.