We are working with a sample of 234 high schools in Texas who have been sending the largest number of students to Texas A&M University in the past 5 years. Of them, we have randomly selected 60 schools to be part of a "Workshop" treatment group (T1). These schools will receive an invitation by email to send a high school counselor to participate in a workshop at Texas A&M on September 6, 2019. The workshop aims to inform guidance and college counselors of the advantages to majoring in Economics.
We have randomly selected an additional 57 schools to be part of our "Information only" treatment group (T2). The remaining 117 schools will be in the control group. The "information only group" will receive materials (e.g. flyers and leaflets) displaying the same information. The control group will not be contacted in any ways.
We aim to track students enrolled at Texas A&M the following academic years (2020-2021, 2021-2022, 2022-2023) and coming from treatment and control schools, to test whether the interventions had an impact on the take-up of the economics major. We also plan to use restricted-use administrative data (e.g., data from the University of Texas at Dallas Education Research Center) to identify the impact of the treatments on take-up at other universities and, ultimately, on labor market outcomes.
*2022 Update: Changes in the Design*
In late Summer 2019, we decided to increase the number of Workshop schools to 120 by randomly selecting 60 schools previously assigned to the Control group. This was in response to a lower than expected (planned) participation rate from the schools invited to the Workshop. In Spring 2020, we decided not to implement the "information only" treatment and instead invite the T2 schools to participate in an online workshop held via zoom in Fall 2020. In Summer 2022, we decided to conduct a new Counselor Workshop with the T1 schools that were invited but did not participate in the 2019 Counselor Workshop. The 2022 workshop is scheduled for October 21, 2022.