Incorporating Match and Fit Into Postsecondary Advising: Lessons from Achieve Atlanta
Deciding where to go to college can be overwhelming, particularly for students from low-income backgrounds and those who are the first in their family to attend college. Research shows that students from low-income families are more likely to attend less selective institutions than what their hard-earned GPA and ACT/SAT scores would otherwise allow, a phenomenon known as “undermatching.” The problem with this is that less selective institutions often have less financial aid to give, offer fewer academic and social supports for students, and see lower graduation rates. Put simply, “undermatched” students often face longer odds to completing a postsecondary degree or certificate.
To support equitable postsecondary access for underserved students, we need to build systems and processes that enable them to make informed choices. Increasingly, high school counselors and frontline staff in college access programs are using the concepts of “match” and “fit” to combat undermatching in the college-going process. In “Incorporating Match and Fit Into Postsecondary Advising Practices: Lessons from Achieve Atlanta,” Nick Allen and Jeff Schulz examine a recent initiative led by Achieve Atlanta and supported by Bellwether Education Partners to implement match and fit into college advising practices across 17 high schools in Atlanta Public Schools. Bellwether provided strategic advice and design support for the initiative, and this case study offers an overview of the work along with a set of recommendations for other schools, districts, and nonprofits that are interested in incorporating match and fit best practices into their postsecondary access efforts.
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Achieve Atlanta is a past and present client of Bellwether, and executive director Tina Fernandez serves on Bellwether's board. Bellwether authors maintained editorial control of this case study.