The Impact of a STEM-Focused Summer Program on College and Major Choices Among Underserved High-Achievers

Discussion Paper

Silvia Robles

August 2018

This study presents evidence that a STEM-focused summer program for high-achieving, underserved high school students that is held annually at a selective, private university increases application and enrollment rates at selective universities and persistence in STEM. The study uses records from the program admission process to reduce selection bias by focusing on applicants who advanced to the penultimate stage of admissions and controlling for observables using OLS and propensity score techniques. Results show the program triples the rate of enrollment at the host institution. Students are shifting into the host institution from less selective universities on average with no detectable difference in graduation rates, allaying fears of college mismatch.