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info@wsac.wa.gov | (360) 753-7800

OtterBot

What is OtterBot? 

OtterBot is a free texting service to support Washington high school seniors and juniors who have signed up for the College Bound Scholarship. OtterBot sends financial aid and college navigation info and reminders to students. Students can access OtterBot via text message 24 hours a day, seven days a week by texting "Hi Otter" to 360-928-7281.

How does OtterBot work? 

After a student signs up for OtterBot, they will receive 4-12 messages per month with need-to-know financial aid and college planning information, resources, suggestions, and deadlines. When a student gets a text from OtterBot, they may follow up with questions by replying directly to the message. 

Students can also text OtterBot at any time for help; it will provide them with answers or direct them to helpful resources. If OtterBot receives a question it cannot answer, it will send the message to a financial aid expert from the Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC).

Students can text #pause to suspend receiving messages for two weeks or text #stop to opt out of the service. Students can resume support during a pause period or opt back into the service by texting #start.

WSAC takes student privacy seriously. The information students provide us with will only be used to send them resources and reminders they are interested in. WSAC doesn’t charge students but message and data rates may apply depending on their text plan.

OtterBot was created in 2019 to support students who have signed up for the College Bound Scholarship, and is managed by MainStay (formally AdmitHub) and WSAC. Our combined partnership ensures Washington students have access to helpful financial aid resources any time they need support.

For Students

12th Graders

OtterBot for Financial Aid & College Planning:

Want to know if you’re on track in the college application process? OtterBot shows you what you should be doing, and when. OtterBot will share resources and important deadlines and help with completing your FAFSA or WASFA—a required step for getting your College Bound Scholarship. OtterBot will send texts with the following info:

  • All about FAFSA and WASFA.
  • Applying for college.
  • All about the College Bound Scholarship.
  • All about the College Bound Pledge.
  • Applying for scholarships.
  • Understanding financial aid award letters.
  • Making your college decision.
  • Transitioning to college.
  • What to expect in your first term at college.
  • College resources you need to use.
 
Frequency of OtterBot Texts:

College Bound Scholarship students in 12th grade will receive OtterBot texts 2-3 times a week, or 8-12 a month.

 

Content of OtterBot Texts—OtterBot Reminders, the Year at a Glance:

 

Season

Objective

Topics

Fall

Get Organized
  • Apply for FAFSA or WASFA as early as October 1.
  • Prepare for your college applications.
  • Tour colleges and attend college fairs.
  • Learn how the College Bound Scholarship will help you pay for college and its pledge requirements.

Winter

Search for Scholarships & Learn about Financial Aid
  • Research and apply for scholarships.
  • Understand the financial aid award letter.
  • Understand FAFSA verification and errors.
  • Learn how the College Bound Scholarship will help you pay for college and its pledge requirements.

Spring

Make a Decision
  • Review your financial aid award letter(s).
  • Attend college orientation.
  • Determine which college is the best choice for you!
  • Prepare to get your College Bound Scholarship.

Summer

Transition to College & Next Steps
  • Complete everything you need to enroll in the college you’ve selected.
  • Submit final high school transcript.
  • Map out different college resources for a successful first year (financial aid, Registration, Tutoring, etc.).
  • Complete the College Bound Scholarship pledge requirements.
     

 

 

11th Graders

Financial Aid & College Planning:

Junior year marks a turning point. This is because for most students and families, it’s when college planning activities kick into high gear. Here are some things OtterBot can assist you with this year to stay on track for college:

  • Types of colleges.
  • All about apprenticeships.
  • Researching colleges.
  • All about the College Bound Scholarship.
  • All about the College Bound Pledge.
  • Ways to pay for college (financial aid & scholarships).
  • Parts of a college application.
  • Preparing for your senior year.
  • All about FAFSA and WASFA.

 

Frequency of OtterBot Texts:
  • College Bound Scholarship students in 11th grade will receive OtterBot texts approximately twice a month.

 

Content of OtterBot Texts—OtterBot Reminders, the Year at a Glance:

 

Season

Objective

Topics

Fall

College Admission Requirements & College "Fit"
  • Meet with your counselor to review your post-high school plans .
  • Research your college or training options.
  • Attend a college and career fair or schedule a college visit .
  • Check with colleges directly for the latest admissions information, including testing.
  • Learn how the College Bound Scholarship will help you pay for college and its pledge requirements.

Winter

High School and Beyond Plan & Resumes;  Financial Aid & Scholarships Info
  • Meet with your counselor to review your post-high school plans and create a resume.
  • Understand how to pay for college using financial aid and scholarships.
  • Learn about types of scholarships and how to apply for them.
  • Learn how the College Bound Scholarship will help you pay for college and its pledge requirements.

Spring

Campus Visits; College Planning; and Test Preparation (Optional)
  • Connect with colleges to request information.
  • Learn what you need to do to graduate high school and be college ready.
  • Learn about the FAFSA or WASFA eligibility and how to apply to help you pay for college.
  • Learn about the different parts of the college application requirements and what you need to apply.

Summer

What to do Over Summer
  • Visit colleges.
  • Begin thinking about your college applications.
  • Start to gather documents for financial aid.
  • Create your Federal Student Aid ID or WASFA login.
  • Estimate your financial aid need by using WSAC’s financial aid calculator.