In one of the most popular sessions at AACRAO SEM 2022, the first results of Cal State Northridge’s 12,000 student student on belonging & Nearpeer were revealed. Launched in just 2 weeks, CSUN achieved great results.

In May 2022, CSUN’s enrollment team, led by Dr. David Dufault-Hunter, selected Nearpeer to grow first-year and transfer enrollment by creating a greater sense of belonging among recruits. Dr. Dufault-Hunter decided to structure this Nearpeer program as a randomized controlled trial (RCT) to gain the most accurate, irrefutable measure of Nearpeer’s enrollment impact.

The results were huge, including a 4% increase in transfer students, 5% increase in Black students, and 7% increase in first-generation students.

Why does an RCT matter? CSUN wanted to accurately measure Nearpeer’s impact, remove all bias, and exclude the impact from 10+ student supports already available, including chatbots, peer mentoring, orientation, advising, EAB Navigate app, and more.
So CSUN randomized their incoming class into two similar groups of students. One group was offered Nearpeer, and the other group didn’t know Nearpeer existed. CSUN then compared these two groups.

For more information on the latest results of this continuing student, visit