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In this paper the research team discuss two studies that explore the effects of connecting classroom content to students' lives. First, the research team replicated prior work by demonstrating that the utility value intervention, which manipulated whether students made connections between the course material and their lives, increased both interest and performance of low-performing students in a college general education course. In Study 2, the team manipulated connection frequency by developing an enhanced utility value intervention designed to increase the frequency with which students made connections. The results indicated that students randomly assigned to either utility value intervention, compared with the control condition, subsequently became more confident that they could learn the material, which led to increased course performance. The utility value interventions were particularly effective for the lowest-performing students.