Academic Advisors at The University of Texas at Austin Engaged 98% of Targeted Students in Text Messaging

How a large, public university leverages Modern Campus Signal Vine to strengthen relationships between advisors and students

About The University of Texas at Austin



students (including 40,000+ undergrads)



colleges & schools



undergraduate fields of study

The Challenge


Previously, UT Austin's academic advisors and students communicated through email or in-person contact. Students’ inboxes were constantly bombarded with campus emails, and an email from an advisor could easily be buried in the student’s inbox. Phone calls were most likely missed, and students only spoke with their advisor for mandatory meetings. Advisors experienced low response rates from attempted emails, phone calls and in-person visits. These advisors wanted to increase student engagement while improving advising relationships. Additionally, staff wanted to provide timely nudges to promote specific behaviors from students.



In the first year of texting, a two-person advising unit within Student Success Initiatives (SSI) team sent nearly 13,000 text messages and received more than 5,100 incoming texts from students. These text messages discussed everything from major changes, dropping classes, family issues to financial struggles and more. Advisors were able to provide immediate support, improving advising relationships.



The SSI team discovered that texting students radically changed the relationship between advisors and their students. Advisors had a 98% engagement rate with students, even though advising was not mandatory for any of the students. Advisors also experienced an unprecedented amount of student-initiated contact—messages sent by students without a prior nudge from an advisor. In fact, contacts initiated by students via text more than doubled the amount of contacts intiated via email, in person and phone calls, combined.

bar graph showing that 916 contacts initiated by students were through text messages, 205 were through e-mail, 175 in person, and 18 via phone call

During busy advising times, personalized texting allowed the SSI advisors to target students who needed immediate in-person advising to drop a class or resolve a problem. Texting also allowed advisors to cultivate a meaningful and impactful relationship with each student , rather than a strictly transactional engagement. For instance, advisors were able to carry on conversations with students even when they were not on campus, including texting in the summer to check on enrollment at a community college. Finally, staff noted that the availability and speed of text messaging enhanced relationships that advisors had with their students. This was because both advisors and students could reach out whenever they needed to provide or receive help, respectively.

UT Austin's First Year of Text Messaging, by the Numbers




advisor-initiated text messages



student-initiated text messages



engagement rate


Related Case Studies

Sowela Technical Community College campus
SOWELA Technical Community College Re-Engaged Students After Hurricanes and COVID-19

How a public college leveraged Modern Campus Signal Vine to re-enroll 46 otherwise-unresponsive students

Learn how

students smiling while sitting on giant letters spelling ACC
The Austin Community College District Increased Persistence Among Part-Time Students by 15%

How a large, public community college system leverages Modern Campus Signal Vine to support students

Read the story

Southwest Tennessee Community College campus
Southwest Tennessee Community College Increased Graduation Credentials by 20%

How an open-access community college leverages Modern Campus Signal Vine to increase student retention and graduation

Explore Southwest's success


Connect with your students, prospects, and alumni at each stage of their educational journey.

Explore the leading texting platform for higher education.

Request a demo

About Modern Campus

Modern Campus is obsessed with empowering its 1,200+ higher education customers to thrive when radical transformation is required to respond to lower student enrollments and revenue, rising costs, crushing student debt and even school closures.

Powered by Omni CMS, DIGARC, Presence, Signal Vine and Destiny One, the Modern Campus modern learner engagement platform enables innovative institutions to create a “learner to earner” lifecycle that engages modern learners for life.


Delivering massive personalization, AI-driven recommendations and a modern e-commerce engine, Modern Campus creates a student-first digital experience and removes silos across campus. Presidents and provosts, marketing and IT teams, admissions, registrars, student affairs and CE divisions can partner to attract, enroll, empower, retain, credential and re-engage students with pathways for lifelong learning.

Learn how Modern Campus is leading the modern learner engagement movement at and follow us on LinkedIn.

We use cookies on this website to enhance your experience and improve our services and our website’s functionality. By continuing to use our website, which includes remaining on this landing page, you consent to the use of cookies and agree to our Privacy Policy.