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Free Content Role models, mentoring and university applications - evidence from a crossover randomised controlled trial in the United Kingdom

We conduct a randomised controlled trial (RCT) in the South West of England to evaluate a policy to encourage students from poorer backgrounds to apply to selective universities. Current university students visited local schools and colleges, providing accurate information on the costs and benefits of university, and giving inspirational talks about making that decision. We find that there is a significant effect on the likelihood of students successfully applying to a selective university, but weaker effects on other outcomes. We fmd that effects are largest for students attending further education colleges, which typically cater for more disadvantaged students (in our sample, 6.2% of students in schools are eligible for free school meals compared to 7.4% in colleges) and offer a wider range of vocational courses. We suggest avenues for future research in this area.


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2018

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  • The journal is based on the belief that there are neglected links between research and theory, and policy and practice in the promotion of widening participation in post-compulsory education and lifelong learning. It aims to provide a forum for the development of theory, the addressing of policy questions and the dissemination of innovative practice in the field of widening participation and lifelong learning.
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