Poverty Lab Partnership for College Completion

Chicago has made great progress increasing high school graduation rates and connecting young people to a postsecondary institutions. Yet, far too many students fail to complete college after enrolling, and this problem is particularly acute for low-income students, students of color, and first-generation college students. Research suggests this disparity is partly attributable to students' concerns about “fitting in” while in college. The Poverty Lab is working with the Partnership for College Completion and four higher educational institutions to implement a “social-belonging intervention” that uses carefully written stories from diverse, older students to convey that worries about belonging in college are common, and to support a sense of belonging through reflection exercises during first-year seminar classes. This project will test a scalable, video-based version of the social belonging intervention using a randomized controlled trial involving 3,500-4,000 students. Based on findings, we will develop a detailed plan for scaling this intervention in appropriate settings at local, state, and national levels