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Published February 13, 2018

Improving the college decision-making process

Helping students make informed decisions about college

Nathan Daun-Barnett, associate professor from the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy, has been awarded a three-year grant from the private firm vibeffect. The goal of the grant is to evaluate the effectiveness of an electronic guidance strategy designed by vibeffect to help students make more informed decisions in the college-choice and enrollment process, as well as its implications for higher education institutions.

“The decisions about whether or where to attend college are complex for students and families,” said Daun-Barnett, who has established several College Success Centers at Buffalo public high schools. “And the stakes are high for colleges and universities.”

Informed decisions benefit students and institutions. “The benefit to students is clear,” said Daun-Barnett. “Simple questions, thoughts and recommendations — appropriately timed and personalized to individual students — can help them to clarify their decisions, anticipate the steps to success and develop confidence in their decisions as they progress through college.”

Regarding the benefits to higher education institutions, Daun-Barnett said that if prospective students make good decisions on where to continue their education, the colleges and universities enjoy a more productive enrollment-management process.

“Researchers have documented and studied the ‘summer melt phenomenon,’ where a significant percentage of students who plan to attend college reverses course before the semester begins,” said Daun-Barnett. “Our research will begin to test whether this strategy can reduce summer melt for institutions and help students make better choices as they progress into and through college.”

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