ELEVATE recap: Experts discuss texting with students

5 min read

It’s always interesting to see what leading institutions are doing to leverage students' medium of choice - texting.

Here are the top six insights from ELEVATE 2018:

1. Michael Stoner, co-founder and president of mStoner, shattered myths about communicating with teens.

His research shows that teens want to receive information via text, but they’re not looking for you to be their BFF (not initially at least). Spoiler: the friendship comes later when they receive their acceptance letter.
  • Texts are most desired during the accepted/deciding phase.
  • 56% of teens said that receiving a text from a college would positively impact their view of the college
  • 82% (!!) of teens have never received a text message from a college

2. Jake Joseph from St. Michael’s College gave a simple example of how his institution used texting to elicit instant responses from 1,400 students about their enrollment intentions. While the message below was an example of what NOT to text (it's impersonal), the resulting data speaks volumes for how efficient texting is over other mediums.

Screen Shot 2018-08-10 at 12.34.44 PM

Jake is an expert at sweating the small stuff. Little things like updating your business card, email signature and website are quick and easy ways to promote how accessible you are via text.

Screen Shot 2018-08-10 at 12.37.00 PM

3. Jenn Passalacqua and Caroline Manning from Norwich University looked at data over 3 years of incoming classes and presented an eye-opening stat. Texters yielded at a 48% higher rate than non-texters.

  Enrollment Yield
Texters 34%
Non-Texters 23%
% Increase 48%

While, initially students just want the facts and nothing else, texting opens the door to much more personal relationships:

Screen Shot 2018-08-10 at 12.44.54 PM-850672-edited

4. Eric Mullen from Grand Rapids Community College chronicled how, after completing a full recruitment cycle using Cadence, their school saw a 3% increase in yield rate. Because of that success, texting has spread across his institution like wildfire. While we have not (yet) received word of a statue of Eric being erected on campus - many departments are already joining in the success.

  • Financial Aid
    - General FA Awarding Processes
    - Default Management Outreach
  • Cashier’s Office
  • Early Alert
  • Lakeshore Campus
  • College Success Center
  • Academic Departments
    - Math
    - Business
    - English
    - Theater
  • Athletics


5. Joe Madigan detailed how Florida Southern utilized texting to increase their freshman enrollment yield by 3%, with a 7% increase in freshman students and a 16% increase in transfer students.

  2016 2017 2018 Percent Change
Average Text
Per Opt-In
6.9 7.3 7.3 1/2 text
Total Confirmed Students 649 691 837 UG Total,
721 UG FR
+7% (+50 FR Students)
+16% (+14 TR Students)

We can also thank Joe for a golden rule Florida Southern lives by when texting, something everyone can take to heart.

"Rule of thumb for text message content: Is it something students will be grateful to you for sending?"

6. Ellen Treanor, AVP Brand Strategy at Southern Utah University, taught her audience to use engaging stories to ignite their school’s brands, complete with a workshop.

Admittedly, this one is not really an insight as much as it was just awesome - so we had to include it. Enthusiastic attendees brainstormed and presented compelling tales. The prize for the best school story was too close to call, which led to a literal toss-up of a stuffed dragon. Not to brag, but this picture belongs in the Smithsonian.

A little help from our friends

Navigating student communication is like driving in a snowstorm; you never know which way the wind will blow and your view of the road ahead is never clear. While Mongoose provides the tool, Cadence, we’re always impressed with how our clients tackle the ever-evolving landscape.

We love bringing together like-minded, innovative people to share their experiences, successes, lessons learned, and new ideas.