Texting is a necessary component to connecting today's college-bound students to the resources they need to get them to the next step.
Dallas County Promise is a last-dollar scholarship that covers tuition at partner colleges. It is an alliance of school districts, colleges, universities, employers and communities.
Dallas County Promise also provides critical support services, such as success coaches, to help area students from low-income and first-generation households to transition to high school, college and beyond.
Dallas County Promise staff realized they were struggling to capture the attention of high school students. First, they tried using email and phone calls for outreach, but students rarely responded and their email addresses frequently changed.
Yet, staff knew that students rarely changed their phone numbers. Plus, they had read that email has an open rate of 98%.
Staff and students both agreed that text nudges were the preferred way to let students know that they needed to take action.
Staff noticed that giving students tasks to complete in person made students react as though they were being confronted. In contrast, text nudges allowed staff to keep students on track while eliminating that sense of confrontation. Texting put students in control of the conversation.
Staff also use Signal Vine platform to coordinate scholarship programs and to increase the program’s survey responses to gain insights on students’ career interests.
Student success coaches reached out to their assigned students to provide them with the help they needed. Additionally, representatives from partner colleges and universities accessed Signal Vine to provide students with admissions support.
One of the biggest results the Dallas County Promise team noticed was a spike in event participation. Students and staff were more eager to communicate with each other through text, fostering a stronger relationship for in-person meetings.
Also, staff noted that they were more easily able to connect students directly to their colleges and universities of interest. Institution staff would then communicate directly with students to guide them throughout the admissions and enrollment processes.
Students were eager to reach out to staff via text when they needed assistance, which gave Dallas County Promise a better idea of which resources students needed most. This helped the program improve its resources and expand departments that students most often relied on, such as improving mental health counseling services and hosting more financial aid nights geared toward parents and families.
As a result of connecting students to the right resources, Dallas County Promise has observed a 7 percent increase in financial aid submissions for two consecutive years and a 6 percent increase in college enrollment.
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