new study shows how to boost female science students’ grades. It also showed hot to reduce drop-out rates of female from science, technology, engineering, and maths degree courses.

Researchers surveyed two groups of first-year female students. 258 of them were studying psychology and 68 studying chemistry. Half of the students got a letter, from a female grad student in their field. It described her university experience. The other half of the students skipped this step.

The researchers composed the letter in which the female grad student emphasized how she’d overcome challenges. How she’d experienced feelings of not belonging.

At the end of the semester, the students who’d read this letter from a role model achieved higher grades. Moreover they were less likely to have dropped out.

The psych students who read the letter were 62 percent less likely to receive a D, E or F grade or withdraw. The chemistry students were 77 percent less likely to receive these grades or withdraw. Everything is compared with students who didn’t read the letter.

Sarah D. Herrmann, — The Effects of a Female Role Model on Academic Performance and Persistence of Women in STEM CoursesJournal Basic and Applied Social Psychology, Volume 38, 2016 – Issue 5