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This fall, she’s heading to Minneapolis Community and Technical College, to study law enforcement and business management.
Martinez says the messages were well-timed and not overly intrusive. “It wasn’t like a constant everyday texting,” she said. “It was every-now-and-then reminders.”
The response from students “has just been overwhelming,” said, Schmitz, the St. Paul counselor. The messages triggered plenty of phone calls and requests for help, she said, especially early in the summer.
She knows that critics might accuse the program of coddling young adults, who should be embracing their independence.
But in this case, Schmitz said, she would simply point them in the right direction and let them take it from there. “I was just there as fallback support.”
Martinez agrees. “I think every person needs some sort of help at some point,” she said.
It’s too soon to tell what, if any, effect the summer nudges had on the students’ long-term plans. So far, the feedback has been encouraging, said Jennifer Fox, who oversees the program at the state’s higher education office. But they can’t tell how many students acted on the nudges, and how many ignored them. “We haven’t found a way to figure that out yet,” said Fox.
Now that college classes are about to start, the program is winding down. Schmitz said she may send one last nudge in the next few days. It will have a simple message: “Good luck.”
Maura Lerner • 612-673-7384