Text messaging is the most popular means of communication for college students: studies show that people ages 18-29 text more than any other generation, and use their phones more for text messaging than anything else. With that increase more higher education institutions are capitalizing on text message’s ubiquity within their student body by using text messaging on campuses. St. Mary’s University, for instance, allows students to enroll in classes with text messages, and Minnesota State University offers academic support by text message for struggling students. Here are three ways in which college administrators can use text messaging services to have dialogues with students.
Answer questions about student enrollment with text messaging
From filing the FAFSA, to work study deadlines, to finding housing, to submitting payment for the following year….college students can find paperwork involved in staying enrolled overwhelming. Text messaging is a great resource for helping students break down complicated processes into step-by-step measures.
Use text messaging to send reminders every time that a deadline for a form approaches. Use it to orchestrate student’s meetings with their advisors. SMS chat can even reduce the number of student counselor appointments, since students don’t have to go through the hassle of booking an appointment. Once an appointment is made, a reminder message can be sent that ensures students make it to meet with their advisor.
Use text messaging to send reminders as submission deadlines approach. Text messaging can even be used to help students in both scheduling, confirming, and attending their meetings with their advisors. With text messaging services administrators can even text with multiple students at once to schedule and confirm appointments and even answer simple questions often preventing the need to see a counselor in the first place.
All these capabilities allow students to receive the information that they need – on a communication device that makes sense to them – that fits in with their on-the-go lives.
Gain feedback on campus events with surveys by text message
Colleges work hard to host events that make students happy. But it can be difficult to receive feedback on campus events. Students are unlikely to fill out and respond to an email survey, for example. And they are even less likely to fill out a hardcopy survey. Text messaging allows students to receive information on campus events and give feedback within a matter of seconds.
Poll students, for example, in order to see what type of campus events they would like to see more of, or how they enjoyed ones that have past. You can get specific with this approach as well. Offer them a choice of four possible bands that they would like to see play on campus. Ask them if they want more intramural sports vs. arts fairs. Get their feedback on what they enjoyed about the homecoming dance, and what they would do differently next year. It’s a great way to tap into the student body and see what they’re feeling and what they want.
You can also incentivize students to fill out a survey by giving out prizes to those who fill out a survey. Just notify the winner with a text message!
Collect student pledges for fundraisers with SMS
Many colleges ask their seniors to pledge to give back to their schools before they graduate. Text messaging is the perfect communication tool since it allows students to give their word and provides a way to keep in touch after graduation. (After all, while alumni email addresses and mailboxes often go unchecked, people rarely change their phone numbers.)
How it works is simple: text college seniors asking them to pledge a certain amount in order to attend a fundraising event. After they respond, you can follow up with them in person via phone call or through a confirmed email address in order to actually collect the donation. Text to pledge is a great way to fundraise since people feel more personally connected to their phones than any other device. It can give a student that extra boost of emotional incentive they need in order to actually make a donation.
Text messaging’s prowess is just starting to show in higher education institutions. These three examples are tried and true uses, but we are sure that there are many more out there. So ask yourself: what do you think text messaging can do for your school?
If you have any questions, or would like to get started with a text message campaign, please contact us.