Evidence-based messaging that fuels persistence

Improve outcomes and have more meaningful conversations with Mainstay’s proven, ready-made messages.

For conversations to truly resonate with students, you must meet them where they are. Mainstay’s proven approach does just that.

Rooted in behavioral science research, we constantly optimize our scripts through real-world student interactions and feedback. This commitment to understanding students’ motivations allows us to craft messages that spark action and drive results.  

Rather than rely on canned responses, these personalized conversations open the door to meaningful engagement. The result is communications that make a real impact for your institution.

A proven framework

Sparking action through conversation

Emotions are a powerful force in decision-making. That’s why nudges alone don’t work. Mainstay’s messages guide people through their options instead of telling them what to do. We also ensure the efficacy of these messages by gathering direct feedback from learners and evolving our approach over time. 

The key behind it all is our proprietary SPARK framework:

Social connectedness
Meaningful interactions happen when people feel accepted and acknowledged. Mainstay’s platform is designed to guide learners to answers, reply with an empathetic response and build the trust needed to help them take advantage of the resources available.

Proactive outreach
Help learners persist by delivering timely guidance that prevents stumbling blocks before they occur. Mainstay enables you to take the pulse of community needs and reach out proactively — and at scale — to those who need a spark to light the path.

Autonomy-supporting messages
Our messages highlight the recipient’s strengths and capabilities — while offering alternatives they may not have considered. The result? A deeper sense of belonging and greater resilience.

Reappraisal skills
Mainstay’s framework empowers learners to see challenges from a different perspective and find opportunities where they previously only saw barriers.  

Keep it simple
Jargon can be confusing. Mainstay’s platform use plain language — ensuring every message is clear, concise, and relevant to their needs right now. And we learn their preferences so we can communicate better in the future.

Backed by behavioral science

Proven scripts for instant results

Want to have the most impact on students, but don’t know where to start? Mainstay has you covered. By drawing on millions of student conversations, we’ve created proven libraries of effective, ready-made content. Our scripts cover admissions, enrollment, retention, financial aid, student wellbeing, and more. 

Developed in partnership with experts in behavioral science, this research-backed content helps you achieve the outcomes you’re looking for — without having to build campaigns from scratch.

Admissions results:


increase in student commitments

Decision check-in campaign

increase in overall on-time

FAFSA script

completion rate

FAFSA completions Intent-to-enroll campaign

Retention results:


increase in early registration

Fall registration check-in campaign

increase in advisor meetings

Academic improvement notification

increase in hold resolution 

Registration hold campaign

Best practice collection

The right message at the right time

We know higher ed leaders like you are pressed for time. That’s why Mainstay created the Best Practice Collection — ready-to-use, research-backed communication campaigns that are proven to work. 

These campaigns use demographic data, success obstacles, and industry insights to craft impactful messaging proven to motivate action. This includes: 

  • Admissions campaigns with FAFSA reminders, application checklists, scholarship details, open house details, and more
  • Retention campaigns covering registration reminders, payment information, academic tips, add/drop deadlines, and more 

With turnkey campaigns informed by rigorous research, you know exactly which script to send at what time — ensuring your messages engage students and drive results.

Leveraging AI

Impactful conversations at scale

One of AI’s superpowers is taking on repetitive tasks that free up human time for complex work. But Mainstay doesn’t stop there. Our platform listens at scale to pinpoint when students need real human support. By escalating these conversations, your team knows who needs personal guidance the moment they need it.

This lets your team focus energy on providing impactful one-on-one support, and guiding individual student journeys. By leveraging Mainstay’s blended approach to AI, your institution can drive stronger student outcomes with less strain on your resources.

Rooted in expertise

Results you can count on

When it comes to driving outcomes, Mainstay leverages rigorous research to inform our approach. We conduct independent studies with trusted research partners to study the impact of our messages.These insights allow us to constantly improve our messaging based on what works and what doesn’t. 

With years spent refining our approach, we can consistently deliver proven results for our partners without wasting time or resources.