Text Alerts Keep Kids, Parents on Track For College Prep

November 9, 2013
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Hoosier teens and their parents can stay on top of college preparations through "Trip to College Alerts." Photo provided by the Indiana Youth Institute.

Hoosier teens and their parents can stay on top of college preparations through “Trip to College Alerts.” Photo provided by the Indiana Youth Institute.

With 83 percent of teens having cell phones and more than half of them texting daily, what better way to keep them informed about what’s necessary to get into college than with texts? According to Kate Coffman, project director for College and Career Counseling at the Indiana Youth Institute, that’s what “Trip to College Alerts” are all about.

“For instance, a 10th-grader this month was reminded about the upcoming PSAT and that they needed to register for that,” she cited. “A junior might be reminded about SAT or ACT deadlines. But younger students, we talk to them about the classes they need to take in high school to be prepared.”

There is no charge for the service, unless a cell phone plan doesn’t cover texting. Coffman said that to sign up for the alerts, text the word “grad” and the 4-digit year of graduation to 69979.

Coffman noted that the “Trip to College Alerts” also are helpful for parents to receive.

“Their biggest fear is that they’re going to miss something and that mistake is going to cost their student either the chance to be admitted or the chance to get the financial aid they need to make it possible,” she said.

The college prep counselor added that the texts are also a way to help kids who don’t believe they can get to college, to give them inspiration and useful information to make it happen.

Coffman said feedback from the pupils in their pilot program was dramatic.

“One hundred percent of them would recommend it to a friend and 70 percent of them had clicked through to the different links we provided,” she said. “We even had some of the parents sign up and the parents’ feedback was really positive.”

Coffman said more information about the texting service and staying on pace for college is available at TripToCollege.org.

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