To complement the existing literature on expanding access to high-quality college education, we investigate the understudied topic of university outreach. Using a field experiment at West Point, we estimate the effectiveness of four university admissions outreach efforts (Admissions Office phone call, application encouragement from a role model, recruiting visit by a university staff member, and an invitation to visit campus) on the probabilities of initiating an application and matriculating. We find that all four methods are effective relative to the control group (a mass e-mail solicitation) at increasing applications but only suggestive evidence for increasing matriculation. We observe a few differences in the relative effectiveness of the methods. We complete a simple cost-effectiveness analysis that suggests the admissions call is the preferred method. This evidence should inform researchers, policy makers, and institutions on optimal outreach efforts and program evaluation in student recruitment.

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