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Call-to-Action (CTA)

A nudge campaign is intended to encourage student behaviors that lead to an increased likelihood of success. To have an impact on students’ likelihood to persist and graduate, the nudge must alter students perspectives or illicit actions that increase their chances of meeting their educational goals.

A nudge can be reinforced with a request for a student to think or behave in a way that will likely improve their educational outcomes. This is a Call-To-Action. Including a call-to-action in a nudge is optional, but highly recommended. Nudges that ask a student to do something specific make it significantly more likely that they will do it and it will have an impact.

It is important not to overwhelm the student by including a long list of resources or choices. Include just one call-to-action and make it specific to the target student population. Four calls to action are described below along with examples of each.


Types of Call to Action

  1. Thought Exercise: Students’ attitudes and beliefs can be changed simply by asking them to think about a question or reflect on a hypothetical situation. For example, asking students to remind themselves about the reasons they are going to college can reinvigorate a sense of determination to help carry them through a tough point in the term. Thought exercises have the benefit of being powerful yet not requiring any additional resources beyond sending the nudge. They also provide students cognitive tools they can use anytime to increase their resilience when facing challenges.
  2. Link to a Resource: Your institution has resources available to support students throughout their academic journey. You may also know of resources outside your institution that would be helpful for certain student groups. Provide a link to a resource related to the purpose of the nudge or to the targeted student group. This call-to-action leverages existing resources without requiring additional time or new initiatives. 
  3. Request to Signup or Attend: Your institution has a variety of support activities already in place for students, such as orientation sessions and student clubs. Ask students to signup, attend, and participate in one of these events or activities. This also has the benefit of not requiring any additional resources to support students beyond what is already allocated.
  4. Schedule an Appointment or Visit: Ask students to schedule an appointment with someone in their academic support network. The call-to-action may be especially impactful for students in need of acute intervention such as students with Very Low and Low persistence predictions.Asking students to schedule an appointment or visit an advisor, faculty, success coach, mentor, or academic support center requires the capacity to handle the influx of students wanting to utilize those resources. This is especially important to consider when using this call-to-action in a nudge campaign with a large targeted student group.

Thought Exercise Examples 

Remember goals and aspirations

  • Think about the reason you applied to [INSTITUTION NAME] in the first place. Remind yourself about those goals and aspirations; you can achieve your goals here.

Use good habits 

  • Good habits you discovered as a first-year student are the ones you can re-use to experience success this year. What habit will you use this week to prime yourself for success in your classes?

Address challenges

  • Now is the perfect time to consider a new way to tackle a new challenge. Working through new challenges is how we all learn. What new challenge are you facing? What is one way you will address this challenge today?

Link to Resource Examples

Study tips 

  • Final exams are coming up. Click here for tips on how to beef up your study skills.

Time management resources 

  • Juggling life and school is challenging. Here is a link to a guide on time management that may help.

Getting around

  • Getting around campus can be tricky. Here are links to campus maps and shuttle routes.

Learn about support services

  • Did you know that you have access to [WRITING CENTER/TUTORING/ SUCCESS CENTER] to support you while you learn and grow at [INSTITUTION NAME]? Click here to learn about how you can take advantage of these services.

Request to Signup or Attend Examples 

Join a student club 

  • At [INSTITUTION NAME] we have a variety of student clubs you can join to meet students with similar interests as you. They are a great way to get connected to your learning community. An information session with representatives from the various clubs will be held at [TIME AND LOCATION]. Come to the session and meet student like yourself.

Attend orientation 

  • It’s important to attend one of your upcoming orientation sessions. They provide information that will help you be successful as you start your journey as a [MASCOT NAME].

Signup for an activity

  • A bunch of your fellow [MASCOT NAME] are volunteering at a local school this weekend. There are lot of opportunities to get involved with your peers and give back to the local community. Signup for an upcoming volunteer opportunity.

Schedule an Appointment or Visit Examples 

Advising appointment 

  • Schedule an appointment with me so we can review your plan for next term.

Tutoring center

  • [COURSE NAME] provides foundational information you will need in future courses. Like many students, if you feel like you need support learning the material, visit the tutoring center.

Office hours

  • Making a connection with your professors is important. Make a goal to visit all of your professors at least once this term.

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