The art of the Pep Talk


Take this into consideration:

“More than a million high school students drop out every year, unprepared for either college or the workforce, according to the article in the journal of Psychological Science. Often the cause is underperformance.”


A new study conducted by Stanford University, online interventions (online “pep talks”) were explored in two different categories: “sense of purpose” and “growth mindset.” The “sense of purpose” was designed to show students how coursework could help them later on down the road with a job or area of study. The “growth mindset” was to show students that intelligence is acquired, not fixed, and that everyone is capable of growth.

The results were as follows:

“The research measured changes in students’ grades in core academic subjects. The results show that among students at risk for dropping out (one-third of the sample), both interventions raised grade-point-averages and increased the rate at which the students performed satisfactorily in each course by 6.4 percentage points.

“The findings suggest the possibility that brief, internet-based activities like the ones we tested could be used to improve learning outcomes for hundreds of thousands or even millions of students around the country at an extremely low cost,” says David Paunesku, a behavioral scientist and lead author of the paper.”

Now, what does this mean for mentoring?

A lot of the time, we talk about traditional mentoring that has been the model for decades. But as technology advances and we create more mediums for communication, motivation and the ability to effectively reach someone can change from talking in person to talking on the phone to talking through email or text. As we grow as a mentoring program, we have found that many of our matches communicate via text. With the above research, it is exciting to see that even a brief “text pep talk” might have the same effect as a in-person nudge in terms of academic motivation!

Read the full article here.

Also, just in case you need it, here’s a good pep talk from Kid President: