CARA undertakes research to inform our practice & leverages practice to inform research and policy in all of our work.

Research < — > Action

CARA conducts applied research on issues of postsecondary access and success across our programs. We do this in collaboration with the young people, schools, community-based organizations, and institutions of higher education that we partner with. Our goal is to bring the voices of those most affected by local, state, and national policies–practitioners & young people–into conversations that shape policy at all of these levels.

CARA uses this research to inform, revise, and shape our practice-based work, in four areas:

  • Implementing best practices in our direct service programs;
  • Providing knowledge and resources to our partner organizations in the access and success community;
  • Supporting our work with New York City Public Schools and the City University of New York;
  • Training other organizations across the country to use our models.

We also publish our findings in a range of formats, with the goal of reaching diverse audiences. These include policy reports, academic journal articles, blog posts on the websites of organizations engaged with policy, and op-eds in popular news sources.

All of these approaches work towards our ultimate goal of creating more inclusive and equitable practices and policies in the field of postsecondary planning.

Aligned to our program models, CARA’s research engages with two key areas:

Institutional Change

Starting from the belief that high schools and colleges need to see it as their job to educate young people about postsecondary pathways, CARA explores how institutions and policies can change to better support students through the varied steps to defining and realizing their postsecondary goals. Our research in and with our partner sites provides a critical window into how to create the infrastructure needed to do this work and the specific policies and practices that facilitate and/or hinder progress.


Peer-to-Peer Advising

Starting from the belief that young people who are first-generation, low-income, and/or people of color are an indispensable part of the solution to this country’s counseling crisis, our research examines both the challenges and promising practices related to implementing and scaling a peer-to-peer approach to expanding advising capacity in public institutions. We explore the impact peer-to-peer advising programs have on outcomes for students served and on the postsecondary pathways and career development of peer leaders themselves.