West Virginia high schoolers learn how to go to college one text message at a time

State higher education office’s college counseling texting program helping 27,000+ students stay on track amid COVID-19 crisis

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – As graduating high school seniors wrap up the academic year amid significant changes related to the COVID-19 pandemic, they are looking for ways to stay on track with their education. The “Txt 4 Success” program, an initiative of the College Foundation of West Virginia (CFWV), Higher Education Policy Commission (Commission) and Community and Technical College System (CTCS), is currently helping more than 27,000 high school seniors and college freshmen do just that with reminders via text message.

“There is so much information for students to consume when they are transitioning from high school to college,” said Sarah Armstrong Tucker, Interim Chancellor of the Commission and CTCS Chancellor. “Due to COVID-19 and students finishing the year from home, we know they are looking for more guidance and support. Our opt-in texting program provides them with helpful reminders, and it’s interactive – when students reply with a question, we get back to them. We’ve seen incredibly positive results for students who have used this program over the past six years, and I believe it is more important now than ever as we work to help students continue on to higher education.”

High school seniors and first-year college students are eligible – and encouraged – to sign up for the texting program. The messages, which typically total two or three texts per month, serve as general college reminders highlighting key deadlines, as well as regular check-ins to make sure students are transitioning well into college life. Recent messages have reflected important changes to state financial aid programs and deadlines resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Students who sign up can also use the service to ask questions, which are answered by a team of nearly 50 college access advisors across the state. More than 40,000 text messages have been sent by students from the classes of 2019 and 2020.

“The Txt 4 Success program is an excellent resource for students to become more aware and knowledgeable about their college endeavors. This program connects and enhances their application process with advisors who will guide them in the right direction. This is a great program, and I’m sure that if students take full advantage of this free resource, it will be beneficial to them, just as it was to me,” stated Kelsey Walls, a student at Concord University.

Students who attend one of CFWV’s partner institutions receive additional messages specific to their college. Partner institutions include Bluefield State College, Concord University, Fairmont State University, Marshall University, Pierpont Community and Technical College, Potomac State College, Shepherd University, Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College, West Virginia Northern Community College, and West Virginia State University.

“The Txt 4 Success program helps us, as an institution, to reach out to students more effectively and efficiently,” said Darrell Taylor, Director of Admissions and Student Life at Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College. “We are able to communicate with our students more often and with a greater focus.”

Students can sign up to receive the alerts by visiting the state’s free college-planning resource, www.cfwv.com. More information on Txt 4 Success can be found at http://www.cfwvconnect.com/txt-4-success.