WWC review of this study

Summer nudging: Can personalized text messages and peer mentor outreach increase college going among low-income high school graduates? [Philadelphia]

Castleman, B. L., & Page, L. C. (2015). Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 115, 144–160. doi:10.1016/j.jebo.2014.12.008. Retrieved from: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1124459

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
    , grade

Reviewed: February 2017

No statistically significant positive
Meets WWC standards without reservations
Access and enrollment outcomes—Indeterminate effects found
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
Significant? Improvement

College enrollment

Peer mentoring vs. Business as usual

1 Semester

Full sample;
443 students





Evidence Tier rating based solely on this study. This intervention may achieve a higher tier when combined with the full body of evidence.

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.

  • Female: 56%
    Male: 44%

  • Urban
    • B
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  • Race
    Other or unknown


The study involved peer mentoring for students who had recently graduated from five Mastery Charter Schools high schools.

Study sample

Fifty-six percent of the Philadelphia analytic sample were female, 95 were percent Black, and 2 percent were identified as other race/ethnicity. Sixty-five percent qualified for free/reduced priced lunch.

Intervention Group

The peer mentoring intervention involved peer mentors (students already attending college) making contact with students and assessing their readiness to matriculate in college in the fall semester. Peer mentors discussed with their mentees various topics, including "whether students (1) were still planning to enroll in college; (2) were planning to follow through on their previously articulated plan; (3) had completed the FAFSA; (4) had received and reviewed a financial aid award letter; and (5) had registered for orientation and placement tests" (p. 150). Subsequent meetings and phone conversations served to address any other issues the students may have encountered.

Comparison Group

The students in the comparison condition did not receive the peer mentoring intervention and continued their usual activities.

Support for implementation

"uAspire and Mastery were responsible for peer mentor selection, training, ongoing support and supervision of the mentors throughout the summer" (p. 150). The study report did not discuss any other support for implementation.


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