Text "College" to 44044 Now! A note from Cooke Scholar Dennis Murphy


To everyone who still dreams about continuing your education after high school, text “COLLEGE” to 44044 right now. Here’s why.

Many of you are about to start that first great step toward the career of your dreams. I know I’m working towards that myself – and I also know that my college education has been crucial to getting me here. President Obama has made it a top priority to increase college attendance and completion rates across the country. Supporting this work, First Lady Michelle Obama recently launched Up Next, a Better Make Room messaging campaign that gives students free personalized support on everything you need to get to college and graduate – all through texting.

Better Make Room’s campaign helps high school and college students complete all the steps needed to make their own path through college. Any student can text “COLLEGE” to 44044 – and increase his or her chances of beating the odds. We all know that the path to and through college can be a tough one, especially for students like us. Most of us need more support, more information, and more financial resources. Up Next will send you reminders and tips about everything from financial aid deadlines to student loan repayment. If you’re in high school, you can also get support for things like signing up for the SAT or ACT, college search and application, and completing the FAFSA.


In fact, the original idea for the text-based campaign actually came from another Cooke Scholar. Dr. Ben Castleman is a professor at the University of Virginia, and he has studied text-based campaigns like Up Next. His research shows that these campaigns can significantly increase students’ college enrollment and persistence. As an intern with Better Make Room, I am proud to be part of their team and to play a role in increasing our generation’s access to higher education.

Two years ago, my life changed forever. I had always hoped that I would go to college, but my family was struggling, and the world around me didn’t seem to understand what I was up against. The Cooke Foundation granted me a new chance in life – to pursue an education at American University. Many of us who are Cooke Scholars have been given an invaluable opportunity. Now let’s support other students like us by spreading the word about Up Next.

Tell every college or high school student you know – especially those who might have the odds stacked against them – to join the First Lady’s college support campaign by texting “COLLEGE” to 44044.

Once every student has the college support he or she needs, we can ensure that our generation will be among the best educated and the most able to make a difference. The world Better Make Room.


Cooke-Scholar-Dennis-Murphy.jpg Dennis Murphy is a 2014 recipient of the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship. Having completing his associate’s degree at Middlesex Community College, Dennis now studies International Relations at American University.