Youngstown State University's Academic Advisors Engage 90% of Dual Enrollment Students in Text Messaging

How a medium-sized public university leverages conversational text messaging powered by Modern Campus Signal Vine to scale communications with College Credit Plus students

Texting through Signal Vine is the best part of my day as an administrator because I get to interact with real students and help them get what they need.

Karla KrodelSenior Director, Office of College Access and Transition
About Youngstown State University






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retention rate


High school students enrolled in the YSU's dual enrollment program, College Credit Plus (CCP) tend to be highly motivated and highly likely to graduate college–exactly the type of student YSU wants to enroll full-time.

However, YSU staff have limited opportunities to connect directly with students and build relationships that encourage CCP students to enroll at YSU after high school. This became even more difficult as the program quickly expanded from 56 students in 2006 to 1,400 students in 2016. The CCP program suffered in that decade due to three primary challenges: 

  • Capacity: Despite the rapid growth of CCP, no additional staff were hired to facilitate the program.
  • Costs: Communicating with so many students was getting expensive. As costs rose, program outcomes did not. 
  • Outcomes: YSU staff were unable to develop meaningful relationships with students, so students had one less reason to enroll full-time at the university.


YSU adopted Modern Campus Signal Vine in hopes of better scaling personal communications.

The CCP application  added a new mandatory field to collect students’ cell phone numbers. CCP administrators then designed a cadence of text messages scheduled around key deadlines to keep students on track. 

The timing of the messages is based on a “just in time” approach: not so far from the deadline that students forget, and not so close to the deadline that students are overwhelmed. Many students text back when they have questions or need help.

Academic advisors at YSU respond to students in their caseloads on a one-on-one basis. Scheduled text messages often prompt students to respond, which helps academic advisors know which students need extra help. For example, students who reply "no" to an advisor asking “are you doing well in your spring dual enrollment class?” are targeted for additional support. 


Nearly 90% of students in the CCP program engage with academic advisors through text messages. Compared to the few students who read and respond to program emails, this marks a huge improvement in student-staff communications.

Many students and academic advisors use text messaging to schedule and change advising appointments. As a result, CCP advisors measure a 19% increase in the number of advising appointments kept. Texting makes it easier for staff to reach remote students with important information and to meet with students for in-person support. 

The CCP program reported an increase in the program’s efficiency after only one year of text messaging. Students and YSU staff communicate more frequently and are able to build stronger relationships now that they text. In the program’s first year of using Signal Vine, more CCP high school students enrolled at YSU in 2015 than in any other year. Youngstown State University uses Signal Vine to expand reach and nudge students in other departments as well. The CCP program is more powerful and cost-efficient as a direct result of text messaging. 

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About Modern Campus
Modern Campus is obsessed with empowering its nearly 2,000 higher education customers to thrive when radical transformation is required to respond to lower student enrollments and revenue, rising costs, crushing student debt, and administrative complexity.
The Modern Campus engagement platform powers solutions for non-traditional student management, web content management, catalog and curriculum management, student engagement and development, conversational text messaging, career pathways, and campus maps and virtual tours. The result: innovative institutions can create a learner-to-earner lifecycle that engages modern learners for life, while providing modern administrators with the tools needed to streamline workflows and drive high efficiency.
Learn how Modern Campus is leading the modern learner engagement movement at and follow us on LinkedIn.

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