College Transition Messaging in Gear up: Impacts on College Enrollment
*Names in bold indicate Presenter
In an effort to provide more support to students as they transition to college, leaders from the U.S. Department of Education’s Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) committed to testing a text messaging strategy for supporting students during the critical transition from high school through the first year of college. Eighty-one high schools across the country volunteered to test whether or not text message-based advising could improve college enrollment rates. About 4,800 college-intending students in these GEAR UP high schools were to randomly assigned to either get advising through text messages in the summer before and during their first year of college in addition to regular GEAR UP services or to receive only regular GEAR UP services. This study will compare the college enrollment rates of students with and without access to text message-based advising to understand impacts on immediate and continuous enrollment. Results will be available this summer.
A growing body of research provides promising evidence that access to information, psychological support, behavioral prompts, and logistical guidance can be effective in increasing the enrollment and persistence rates of low-income students; however, text message-based advising that incorporates targeted supports across these areas has yet to be tested. This study expands on prior studies examining the combination of summer and school year text message-based advising through the first year of college on a large scale in multiple locations across the country.