Dell Scholars: College retention is just a text away

We’ve all seen the feel-good videos on YouTube: students opening their college acceptance letters with cheering classmates, proud parents, and tears of joy that tug at the heartstrings. At Dell Scholars, we join in celebrating the beginning of this higher education journey – one that can have a major impact on the life of each student, along with their families and communities.

But nearly 1 in 5 full-time freshmen won’t return to college for a second year, and longer-term outcomes are particularly stark for low-income students, with only 1 in 5 graduating with a bachelor’s degree within six years. As a retention officer for Dell Scholars, our scholarship and college-completion program, it’s my job to ensure each student’s journey doesn’t end before graduation day. With the right information in hand, our team can help scholars navigate common roadblocks, before they become more serious obstacles to college success.

To gather that information, we recently launched surveys by text message to hear directly from our students. As members of Generation Z, Dell Scholars usually have their phones within arm’s reach – making it easy for them to share valuable updates with our advisors in just two quick taps.

With access to targeted insights, at scale, our advisors can effectively prioritize and intervene, one of the reasons Dell Scholars are 25 percent more likely to earn their bachelor’s degrees within six years of high school graduation compared to students of similar socioeconomic backgrounds. Texting functionality is also built into our student management platform GradSnapp for use by other college success practitioners.

Check out our latest blog post at DellScholars.org to learn more about our approach to text surveys, and for our colleagues in college completion, let us know your texting tips and tricks on Twitter at @DellScholars.