About Utah Valley University
students age 25+
The first-year experience (FYE) and retention team at Utah Valley University wanted a better way to engage with students. The team found that first-year students were overwhelmed and unresponsive to email. First-generation students were particularly overwhelmed and presented a retention risk.
Staff knew that texting would be a great solution—a way to connect with modern learners and provide essential tools to support persistence.
The FYE team focused their intial texting efforts on first-generation students and first-year students at large, with a different communication path designed for each.
The goals were to communicate with students before they arrived on campus to ensure they were registered, had the pertinent financial aid details, and started acclimating to student life.
The programs followed the following paths:
Communication path for first-generation first-year students
Communication path for all first-year students
Utah Valley University saw great initial engagement results and continues to monitor retention performance to measure impact. The first-generation student segment had an engagement rate of 70%, with many students asking questions before reaching campus.
The broader first-year group had a lower engagement rate but, although students did not directly respond to messages, they still followed the nudges and acccepted invitations. In addition, the team saw some great qualitative feedback from students and proof that texting helps surface challenges and opportunities that impact retention.
Sample text responses from Utah Valley University students
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