We could go on and on about all of the cool ways education organizations are using text messaging to improve student outcomes. Or, you can hear these success stories from the people who know them best: our customers! Welcome to our first ever Q&A post, where we sit down with our partner organizations to talk about text.
This week, we spoke with Chris Pinto, an Admissions Counselor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Chris uses Signal Vine to text prospective and admitted students throughout the application and enrollment cycle. Here's what he has to say about texting:
SV: How many students is your office in communication with during the height of admissions season?
CP: Roughly 20,000 at the peak of recruitment.
SV: What are some of the barriers your office faces when trying to reach students?
CP: Our biggest struggle is meeting students where they are. We want to engage students in a way that’s relevant and where they feel comfortable responding to us.
SV: Has your office noticed a shift in the medium through which prospective students communicate?
CP: Students fear the face-to-face and only talk on the phone when necessary. They want to communicate digitally and anonymously.
SV: What are your goals for improving communication with prospective students?
CP: We want our messages to stick and our students to respond or act.
SV: How has texting impacted your office’s role in the college-going process?
CP: It’s helped us seem innovative, relevant, and just more human, while also ensuring that our students are receiving the information they need.
SV: Has this impacted the role of admissions counselors?
CP: Counselors have another way to communicate with students, but more importantly they are getting better feedback. Students are more candid in a text than over the phone or via email.
SV: How do you measure student engagement during the admissions process?
CP: We track how often they reach out to us, when they visit campus, and when they interact with our website.
SV: What has been the student feedback to texting?
CP: Expected. What’s interesting is no one has said, “Wow, this is so cool.” Rather the response has been, “Well of course you’re going to text me.”
SV: What are some examples of the most common questions prospective students have asked through the platform?
CP: We get questions about event times, deadlines, and financial aid primarily.
SV: What is the most valuable thing you have learned from using texting with students in your admissions process?
CP: That we don’t want to be seen as inaccessible. Texting puts you in a student’s day-to-day communication stream and not destined for formal email purgatory.