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Wednesday, November 09, 2011
Reflections on the 'Undermatch' Phenomenon in College Choice: Implications for Students, Schools, and Public Policy
4:00 PM -  5:30 PM
Lecture by Michael S. McPherson, President of the Spencer Foundation

Abstract: The term 'undermatch' describes the problem of students failing to apply to the most selective colleges they qualify for. There is evidence that students who undermatch significantly reduce their chances of graduating. Because undermatching is substantially more prevalent among lower-income, minority, and first generation students, it raises immediate questions of fairness as well of resource waste. There is also a broader social and economic interest in getting students from these groups to take better advantage of educational opportunities, and policies to accomplish that aim need attention. However, fixing undermatch is not by itself going to make a very big dent in the nation's college completion problem -- it's just not a big enough phenomenon, and so it has to be seen as one element in a larger set of policy and operational challenges in higher education.

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