Nudging for Success

A look at using behavioral science to improve the postsecondary student journey

ideas42 partners with colleges and universities across the country to apply insights from behavioral science to campus programs and student communications. Our goal is to remove hidden challenges students face on their journey to graduation day—a journey that spans choosing a best-fit college, applying for financial aid, attending and persisting in school, completing coursework, and ultimately repaying loans. Based on these insights, we design new solutions and rigorously test them for impact.

In June 2016, ideas42 released a report encompassing 16 studies in postsecondary education, partnering with colleges, universities, and other organizations to improve the student journey. Read Nudging for Success: Using Behavioral Science to Improve the Student Journey to learn more about the problems tackled, interventions implemented, and results.

Looking at the college journey from the student perspective allows us identify surprising barriers and effective solutions. For example, an intervention including a norm-setting video, self-affirming exercises, and monthly messages increased retention by 10% among students at risk of dropping out at San Francisco State University.

The results outlined in this report demonstrate the potential for behavioral science to create a better student journey, and it is only the beginning of our efforts in this space. ideas42 continues to manage projects in postsecondary education, building on the insights gained so far.

Learn more about our work along each stage of the college journey:

Pre-Admissions: Making it to Day One

Affordability and Financial Aid

Connecting on Campus

The Balancing Act: Getting to Graduation on Time

Post-Graduation Day: Get on Track to Pay it Back

Stay in touch! Tweet @ideas42 to join the conversation about behavioral science and higher education.