ENMU-Roswell: Texting GEAR UP Students
Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell GEAR UP (ENMU-Roswell GEAR UP) is a partnership grant from the Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) initiative. The purpose of ENMU-Roswell GEAR UP is to help sophomore and junior students in Chaves County public high schools prepare for and succeed in postsecondary education.
ENMU-Roswell staff noted three main issues when it came to communicating with students. The first challenge was that there was no easy way to reach them. Most students are from rural areas, so it was especially challenging to keep in contact with those students.
To combat the issue, staff first tried to reach students by physical mailings. The mailings primarily included information about scholarships and GEAR UP events. Mailings were ineffective as students failed to respond to and act on the information sent to them. Further, staff noted a large number of these mailings came back to their office due to outdated addresses on file.
Next, staff attempted to text GEAR UP students from their personal phones. This was also an ineffective form of outreach. Staff didn’t have a central location to house a texting campaign as message threads lived on personal phones. This made it difficult to manage texts and keep track of which messages reached which students.
Another challenge for ENMU-Roswell staff was that there was no way to personalize communication. It soon proved to be too time-consuming to customize each text and each letter to each student. Staff needed a quicker, easier way to customize and personalize their messages.
As a result of these challenges, staff turned to Signal Vine’s texting platform.
An outreach coordinator at ENMU-Roswell GEAR UP introduced the texting platform to other staff members. Once other staff members hopped onto the platform and began to text GEAR UP students, they agreed it was a good solution to their outreach problem. They agreed the platform was user-friendly and easy to use. Trainings and best practices that Signal Vine staff shared with staff further enhanced these viewpoints.
Using the Signal Vine platform, ENMU-Roswell GEAR UP was able to reach out to an additional 98 students that were eligible for a GEAR UP scholarship. As a result, for the 2018-19 school year, an additional $100,000 in scholarships was awarded to GEAR UP students.
Staff agree that using a texting platform that allows staff to track communication works best for them. They can log onto the platform and see which information has been sent to students and follow up when necessary. Additionally, staff use the platform to nudge students around important deadlines to complete applications, scholarships, and paperwork.
Texting GEAR UP students
Our GEAR UP partners from across the country have given us feedback on best practices when it comes to texting GEAR UP students. You can read about these best practices segmented by grade level in our ebook Texting Through the GEAR UP Grant Cycle.
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