Spring is upon us, and you know what that means: National College Decision Day is almost here! May 1st is the deadline for college-bound students to make tough choices about where to enroll in college. By now, most students have submitted their applications and are anxiously waiting to hear back.
The next two months are a critical time for colleges and universities to process applications, get students excited about college, and ultimately enroll a brand new class of students. Text messaging students as they transition from prospect to applicant to admit eases the process for both sides. Before sending that first text, admissions offices should consider the following do's and don'ts of texting applicants:
You've read the research, seen the demo, and now you're ready to start texting your students. The only problem? The rest of your team isn't on board yet. Come to your next team meeting prepared to handle these frequently asked questions:
The contract is signed, the texting program is created, the staff is trained, and now it’s officially Signal Vine Launch Day! Today’s the day you start sending text messages to your students - and they start texting you back.
When we text students, we want our messages to come off as friendly and approachable, while still keeping it professional. The goal is to reach and engage students - not make them laugh at our formality or our misguided attempts to use (what we think is) the cool text lingo. We wrestle between using “u” or “you,” “2” and “to,” “gr8” and “great”… but maybe we’re overthinking things. It turns out that the friendliness of text messages might come down to the simplest of punctuation marks: the period.
Have you ever called a company for customer service help and been greeted by an automated system? The experience feels impersonal and cold. No one likes to talk to a computer, and students are no different. They're used to receiving and dismissing mass automated messages, which is why we always stress the importance of personalization.
Does your organization continue to spend money on technology and programs that are outdated and no longer seem to work? Is your organization making investment choices based on criteria other than effectiveness or outcomes? These are technology traps organizations fall into over and over, allocating budget dollars for technology that doesn’t move the needle on outcomes and absorbs valuable budget dollars that could be better spent on high-impact interventions. To maximize your impact, it's critical for your organization to avoid these traps.
When it comes to communicating with students, the #1 goal is keeping them engaged. Schools and organizations attempt to engage students in a number of ways, but with so many communication channels to leverage, it seems like we’re always one step behind students. It can certainly be tempting to follow students from trend to trend as they move from Instagram to Snapchat and from WhatsApp to Kik, making us ask ourselves: What’s the difference among all of these apps, and what’s the most effective way to reach students?
Now that you know why text messaging students is effective and how to send engaging texts, you might be wondering when you should be texting students. It isn’t simply a matter of the time of day; successful text messaging programs are strategic about scheduling messages around important deadlines, events, and tasks.
With that in mind, here are eight times when sending a text message can effectively improve student outcomes:
Congratulations! You’ve jumped through the administrative hoops and you’re finally ready to start texting your students! We know you have a lot of great information to send out, but you want to make sure your messages are relevant and don’t fall into the TL;DR trap. The beauty of a text message is that it’s short, sweet, and to the point, so here are a few tips and tricks to get your information out there in 160 characters or less.