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

College students using 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.”

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