Up Next aims to make sure students make a smooth transition to college by texting them

millennials attached to phones college students texting smartphones
When I was in high school, we had a guidance counselor that would help us with our transition from high school to college. Unfortunately, he wasn’t available during after-school hours, which meant we were on our own as soon as the clock struck 3 p.m. Because of that, we would have loved something like Up Next, which aims to eliminate this issue and more by messaging high school students instead, reports Wired.

Today’s youth and millennials mainly use messaging as a way to communicate with others, precisely the venue Up Next, spearheaded by digital creative agency Huge, Civic Nation, and the White House’s Office of Public Engagement, targets. In short, Up Next aims to send students text messages about studying for upcoming SAT and ACT exams, as well as applying for school and financial aid, for example, in a timely fashion. As such, students could theoretically also receive a reminder text about filling out the FAFSA application a few weeks before it’s due.

Texts you receive from Up Next will include a link that sends students to a personalized Up Next website. There, students can learn about what they need to do in more detail and how to do it, and when they’re done, can check the task off the list.

The government initiative is also a simpler approach, according to Up Next lead designer Karelia Moore, with texts written out as gentle nudges rather than aggressive pushes. This is done by making the texts sound conversational in tone. “Like an older peer, but not your mom,” is how Moore describes the messages. As such, unlike moms, these texts won’t constantly remind you about certain tasks, with Up Next assuming you will do what needs to be done with the information sent to you.

Up Next is currently in beta, though the plan is to roll out even more tasks over time, such as guiding students to pay back loans. If the initiative can pull this off, however, one can see other industries that something like Up Next could be very useful: health insurance, realty, or any industry that is known to give people a hard time with its jargon and processes.

Maybe because of such possibilities, but surely because of what Up Next has the potential to be, Huge’s Washington, D.C., office managing director Kate Watts is understandably excited. “I think what is really exciting for us is it’s a way for a younger generation to engage with a brand [the government] that, to be perfectly honest, has had a really tough time engaging especially through digital and technology.”


Car-branded phones need to make a U-turn if they ever want to impress

Your car and your smartphone are becoming one, yet smartphones branded or co-created by car companies are a problem. We look at the history, some examples of the best and worst, then share hopes for the future.
Emerging Tech

The 20 best tech toys for kids will make you wish you were 10 again

Looking for the perfect toy or gadget for your child? Thankfully, we've rounded up some of our personal favorite tech toys, including microscopes, computer kits, and a spherical droid from a galaxy far, far away.
Smart Home

ConnectSense’s next plug iteration makes a home smart without a hub

The newest smart outlet in the ConnectSense line of smart home products not only provides a dual plug but can also operate independently of a smart home home, allowing users to control devices directly through an app.

Make a GIF of your favorite YouTube video with these great tools

Making a GIF from a YouTube video is easier today than ever, but choosing the right tool for the job isn't always so simple. In this guide, we'll teach you how to make a GIF from a YouTube video with our two favorite online tools.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Folding canoes and ultra-fast water filters

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!

Google to end support for Android devices running Ice Cream Sandwich

Anyone with an old phone that is still running Android 4.0 may want to look into upgrading their phone, as Google has announced that it will be ending support for this older version of Android.
Product Review

The iPad Pro is the best tablet ever. But don't sell your laptop just yet

Apple has unveiled a big redesign for the iPad Pro, slimming down the bezels, adding Face ID, and the ability to attach and charge the Apple Pencil. All of this comes at a high cost however, as the iPad Pro starts at $799.

Amazon knocks $30 off its Paperwhite ebook reader in limited-time deal

Amazon is running a couple of limited-time deals for its Paperwhite ebook reader. One offers a $30 discount, while the other throws in a pair of headphones and a free, extended Audible trial.

New Galaxy S10 leaks showcase display sizes, confirm headphone jack return

While we still may be months away from an announcement, there's no doubt about it: Samsung is working hard on its successor to the Galaxy S9. Here's everything we know about the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S10.

Android 9.0 updates to stretch into 2019 -- will your phone get a slice of Pie?

Android 9.0 Pie has been released. But is your phone getting Android 9.0 Pie, and if so, when? We've done the hard work and asked every device manufacturer to see when their devices would be getting the update.

LG G7 owners experiencing dreaded bootloop will have to wait a few days for fix

If you’ve picked up LG’s flagship and it’s not behaving itself, then you might find a solution here. We’ve rounded up the most common LG G7 ThinQ problems and tracked down workarounds and possible fixes.

A render video gives us a 360-degree look at the midrange Pixels

The Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are considered to be two of the best Android smartphones, but it looks like Google could be prepping a midrange line. Say hello to the Pixel 3 Lite and Pixel 3 Lite XL.

Honor to out-megapixel the competition with 48MP camera on upcoming View 20

After its phenomenal success with the View 10 in 2018, it looks like Honor is getting ready up the ante with its forthcoming Honor View 20. Here's everything we know about it so far.

Xiaomi is preparing to set records with 48-megapixel phone camera

Bigger doesn't always mean better, but it certainly makes headlines. Chinese mobile giant Xiaomi is set to release a phone camera with a staggeringly large 48 megapixels on a single sensor.