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    A Student’s Experience with Ana, Upswing’s Virtual SMS Assistant


    Ana is Upswing’s virtual SMS assistant, serving as a retention and engagement tool for college students. Let’s take a look at the experience of Maria, a hypothetical first-year student at a rural college. The messages below reflect the type of content that Ana may distribute to tens of thousands of students each year.

    The Semester is Beginning!

    As a new student at Smarter College, Maria is not yet fully aware of the breadth of resources available to her. On the first day of classes, she receives a text message from a local phone number, introducing her to Ana and other Upswing services.

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    After a few messages back and forth, Maria discovers that she has access to free 24/7 tutoring, assignment review, and online counseling through Upswing. She also learns that she can text Ana whenever she needs to ask a question, so she decides to try this out a few days later. 

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    Ana immediately responds to her inquiry about textbooks with a URL to the Smarter College bookstore, as well as a link to an article that includes tips for getting the most out of textbooks. Feeling relieved after realizing how easy it can be to get the answers she needs, Maria orders her textbooks that afternoon and her semester is off to a strong start.

    Midterms Looming

    Maria has been receiving messages from Ana about once a week for the past couple months, and all of her courses have been going well so far. She has received information about campus resources, time management tips, and even a few encouragement texts to give her some additional confidence. However, she has several midterms coming up, and the stress from these exams is starting to accumulate. She has taken advantage of the online tutoring, but she remains concerned about her stress and anxiety. Maria has never sought out counseling before, so she is not quite sure how to get started. She decides to confide in Ana, and gets a quick response with links to her campus counseling office and her Upswing portal. 


    Maria is very nervous and a little embarrassed to go to the on-campus counseling center. Although she has never heard of online counseling, she logs into Upswing and finds that she can access teletherapy through BetterMynd at home. She sets up an appointment for later that week, and she is even more excited when she learns that there is no cost to her.

    After speaking with a mental health counselor via video chat, Maria has been able to put her situation in perspective while gaining valuable insight into how to manage her stress in the midst of assignments and exams. With her newfound confidence, Maria aces her midterms and tells her friends about this incredible resource. 

    Time for Finals Already?!

    The semester is flying by, and it’s already time to start thinking about next term. However, as a first-year student, Maria is only focused on her current courses and upcoming finals. Fortunately, Upswing has anticipated this and scheduled a few helpful reminders to be sent exactly when this information is needed.

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    Maria did not realize that she was supposed to register for next semester’s classes already, and she definitely did not know about the upcoming FAFSA deadline. The reminders from Ana helped her take care of these tasks quickly before returning to her studies. When she’s studying at the library, she reaches out to Ana again for a little boost.

    Not knowing exactly what Maria might benefit from the most, Ana responds to Maria with a few recommendations, and asks Maria if there’s anything specific that’s making her feel overwhelmed. Maria says that she feels overwhelmed with exams and the pressure of doing well at the end of the semester. 

    Ana responds telling Maria that it’s completely normal to feel overwhelmed and suggests she try a healthy distraction like going for a short walk, catching up with a friend, or watching something that makes her laugh. Ana also sends Maria a link with some animals falling asleep in funny ways. With her newfound confidence and a little humor to keep moving forward, Maria is able to continue studying before tackling her final exams head-on. 

    Ana messages are highly tailored to each institution, and have proven to increase engagement and retention on dozens of college campuses. To learn more about how Ana and Upswing’s other resources can benefit your institution, please reach out to us here.

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