Take advantage of every opportunity to engage with students through texting.
Building retention and engagement with college students is easier when you start texting them early, but communication needs to arrive when students need it most and when they’re most willing to receive it. That’s why being strategic about establishing touchpoints is so important.
1. Start texting right away
Touchpoints are opportunities, and there are several prime chances to not only get a student’s attention, but also help them - especially early on in their lifecycle. When you start texting incoming freshmen during the summer, they’ll feel more comfortable once they arrive at school in the fall.
This chart highlights the many opportunities for engagement throughout a student’s lifecycle.
2. Tap students on the shoulder
Nudges are gentle reminders about key dates, deadlines, and services available for students. They’re also a great way to help at-risk students through a process that can be both confusing and stressful.
SMS texting is a good way to remind students to complete forms, files, and other content. Schools should never share personal information through texting, but using forms to show students exactly what they’re missing is effective.
If you’re reminding students that they’re missing necessary forms for financial aid, send an email and follow it up with a text. That includes:
- Registration reminders
- Advising check-ins
- Scheduling appointments
“Texting with Cadence has been an easy-to-use tool to send important messages to mass groups of students. It's a great way to alert students that something urgent may be sitting in their University email inbox!”
- Chuck Franco, Coordinator of Enrollment Systems at Aurora University
3. Supplement your texting strategy
There is no fail-safe method of communicating with current students. Texting is extremely effective, but your retention rates will increase at a greater rate if you use texts in conjunction with other forms of communication such as emails, calls, and mailers. If it works, use it!
4. Do not overtext
Students want information, but they will not stand for receiving 15-20 texts a day. If your school is considering texting for multiple departments, it’s imperative to be on the same page to prevent an overload of texts to students. Consider holding cross-departmental meetings where you create calendars and track when each department is sending texts, emails, phone calls, and other communications.
5. Text students opportunities
A student makes an investment in your college, and there is no better opportunity to show them that investment is worthwhile than the time they’re ready to leave. Before it’s time to don the cap and gown, introduce soon-to-be grads with career services and job placement opportunities.
This engagement fosters stewardship and makes it far more likely that alums will continue to support your institution post-graduation.