Document Type


Publication Date



college access, randomized experiment, campus visits, psychological barriers


We hypothesize that a lack of experience with college poses a non-trivial barrier to college access for historically underrepresented students. We study whether visits to a college campus during the eighth grade can reduce these psychological barriers to college access. Using an experimental design, we study whether college visits affect students’ knowledge about college, postsecondary intentions, college-going behaviors, academic engagement, and ninth grade course enrollment decisions. We recruited 885 students across 15 schools who participated in our project during the academic year 2017-2018. We randomized students within schools to either a treatment or control condition. Students in the control condition receive an information packet about college. Students in the treatment condition receive the same information and visit a flagship university three times during their 8th-grade academic year. Students assigned to participate in these campus visits demonstrate higher levels of knowledge about college, higher levels of effort while completing the survey, a higher likelihood of having conversations with school personnel about college, and a decreased desire to attend technical school. Additionally, treated students are more likely to enroll in advanced math and science/social science courses in 9th grade.