Study: College visits motivate students to take advanced high school courses

Visiting a college campus can sometimes impact students' views on higher education, but it can also affect a student's decisions in high school, according to a working paper out of the University of Arkansas's College of Education and Health Professions.The working paper's findings, released in February, found that about half of middle-schoolers living near the University of Arkansas had ever visited a college campus. Doing so boosted their chances of talking to a school staff member about college, along with the rate at which they took higher-level courses in 9th grade — but it didn't raise the rate at which they planned to enroll in a four-year college, researchers found.The researchers plan to continue examining these students, along with another group of 8th-graders who will visit the university, to see how they do in high school and whether they go to — or graduate from — college, Chalkbeat reports. While this study shows visits didn't necessarily boost students' plans to enroll in a four-year college, it did prove college visits can be valuable in preparing students for higher education. College can be intimidating and foreign for middle- and high-schoolers, and offering an opportunity for students to visit long before they have to apply can make the idea feel less scary and more appealing. In addition, learning more about a school — and about college in general — means students are more likely to be informed about the application process, what programs a school offers, and how they can boost their chances of getting in.

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