NCAN: Nudging Students to Beat Summer Melt

NCAN uses Signal Vine
College Access
Washington, DC
Customer Since:


Over the summers, the National College Access Network (NCAN) and its member organizations use Signal Vine to support their students’ transition from high school to college and beat summer melt. The summer intervention was based on the behavioral economics research by Drs. Benjamin Castleman and Lindsay Page. The research showed an 11% increase in matriculation as a result of sending personalized text message “nudges” to students during the summer between high school and college.


NCAN designed a Summer Melt campaign with pre-written text messages over a period of 16 weeks that were personalized to students’ college choices. Member organizations could choose to opt in to the program to support their students. The messages had information about topics such as financial aid, tuition bills, class registration, and freshman orientation. Students could text back and connect with advisors for help in real time. Sixteen organizations joined the Summer Melt campaign, with a total of 2,827 students served.


The program showed impressive results, with student engagement rates of 75% and an average response rate of 64% per message. Sixty percent of students were highly engaged, meaning they responded to a majority of the text messages from their advisors. NCAN will continue its summer melt texting initiative with its members and Signal Vine each summer moving forward.

Kim Cook, Executive Director

There is real value in a tool like text messaging that can streamline the work of these programs and enable them to reach more students who need support.

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