Why do Low-Income, High-Achieving Students not Apply to Top Universities?


  • Tanisha Srivatsa Mission San Jose High School
  • Henry Weeks Mentor, Swarthmore College Alum




high school, higher education, college, college admissions, behavioral economics, availability heuristics, simulation heuristic


In this study, the behavior of low-income, high-achieving students when applying to prestigious universities is analyzed. It was postulated that this behavior is due to a lack of information provided to these students and the effect of several behavioral heuristics that influence these students’ application decisions — namely, availability, simulation, and the status quo bias. This paper focuses on the behavior of low-income, high-achieving students who do not apply to prestigious students and therefore behave in a manner typical to their income level rather than their ability. These students, who are less likely to attend magnet schools or live in major metropolitan areas, are often left out of initiatives and college resources available to high-income students. To address this disparity, two solutions are proposed to encourage income-typical students to apply to prestigious universities: the continuation of test-optional policies and virtual college tours.


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References or Bibliography


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How to Cite

Srivatsa, T., & Weeks, H. (2021). Why do Low-Income, High-Achieving Students not Apply to Top Universities?. Journal of Student Research, 10(3). https://doi.org/10.47611/jsrhs.v10i3.2004



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