Comprehensive higher ed planning tool keeps students applying to college on track

NextTier Education revolutionizes college application prep for North Carolina district
By: | Issue: November, 2016 | Case Study
October 10, 2016

“When do you do what?” The counselors at Mooresville High School of Mooresville Graded Schools near Charlotte, North Carolina, heard that question often from college-bound students during the fall application season. The college planning software the district used prior to spring 2016 helped the 1,876 Mooresville students prepare documents, but did not provide information or reminders on when those documents were due to colleges.

“We heard about a program, NextTier Education, that would communicate application and scholarship deadlines to our students and their parents” says Allyson Morris, school counselor and Counseling Department chair for Mooresville.

NextTier Education is a postsecondary readiness platform that delivers critical information on every two- and four-year college in the U.S. The platform provides each student with a comprehensive college application plan, including a detailed list of every school’s required tasks, step-by-step guidance and deadlines for completing each task in the process. NextTier’s database also includes information on more than 20,000 scholarships and grants, and helps students to successfully research and identify the right financial support opportunities. Accessible by all devices, students can accomplish every college requirement right in NextTier, including sending their transcripts digitally.

“NextTier Education had the college checklist that all of our students and parents were looking for” says Morris. “It is presented as a checklist, allowing students to check off tasks as they progress.”

Smooth implementation

Initially, trainers from NextTier Education visited Mooresville to provide training on both the administrative end and the student view to Morris and the other counselors. To ensure student buy-in, the counselors trained a group of 30 students on the platform. Those students were responsible for training their peers in small groups.

“Our students are very digitally intelligent” says Morris. “We needed them to understand that this wasn’t just another digital program to put on their plates, this was really going to help them.”

The NextTier Education mobile app meets students where they are. When the due date for a particular task is approaching, they receive push notifications and text message reminders of critical deadlines. Students also receive badges for accomplishing tasks. At Mooresville, current seniors began using the platform last spring, and continued to use it through the fall of this year as they applied to college.

“I think this helps ease some anxiety in our seniors” says Morris. “The current seniors are more prepared because they could see and prepare for fall deadlines in advance during the summer.”

Actionable insight

The administrative side of NextTier Education allows Morris and her fellow counselors to monitor student progress. If she sees a student has not checked off any tasks, she can proactively reach out and offer assistance before it is too late. Conversely, Morris can proactively reward students that she sees are completing tasks.

“I saw on my end that a student finished some tasks over a weekend, and I was able to send her a note saying to keep up the good work and to let me know if she has any questions” she says.

“Students no longer have to fill out requests and await responses from our counseling department on time-sensitive materials because they can access that information through NextTier” adds Stephen Mauney, superintendent. “This allows our staff to work more efficiently and effectively with our students and parents on other important matters related to college and career preparation. Our students, parents and high school staff all benefit from our partnership with NextTier.”

This was produced by DA for NextTier Education. For more information, visit