Most high school reform efforts understandably focus on boosting the success of low-income students who are underachieving academically, but in every school district where students struggle, there are academically capable low-income and minority students who do graduate prepared for college. Yet each year, many of these students choose to attend nonselective four-year colleges where graduation rates are distressingly low. Others enroll at two-year colleges, where degree completion and transfer rates are even lower. Many more do not attend college at all.
In 2010, MDRC and its partners pilot-tested an innovative advising program, College Match, in three Chicago public high schools. This practitioner brief presents practical lessons from that program. It offers five strategies that show promise, that could be widely applicable, that counselors and advisers can integrate into their existing college guidance activities, and that can be implemented in college advising settings in and out of schools.