Is it easier to reach a young student, new to the college experience and excited to seek out campus life activities, or a professional mother of two, interested solely in obtaining a degree to advance her career?
While texting has proven to be a successful method for reaching students, the more you know about your audience, the more effective your messages will be. The broad range of characteristics held by community school students often makes it that much harder for schools to engage, but you can make a connection by addressing a student’s needs.
A diverse group
The student base of a 2-year college is most often a mix of recent high school graduates, adults looking to switch careers, and retirees seeking new skills. While you can’t predict behavior strictly based on age or generational stereotypes, this diverse student base will respond to your communication platform in different ways. Some students won’t respond to you until they have a question.
Students want and need information. And, whether you’re reminding your students of deadlines, checking in to see if they need help, or inviting them to career orientation sessions, you’ll find that concise, personal, and relevant texts are effective ways to engage.
Make yourself useful
- Promote new classes that might interest current students
- Set up career advising sessions to help students realize goals
- Invite prospective students to events that will showcase school activities
- Encourage your alumni to share success stories
First-generation students in community colleges
According to the PNPI Postsecondary National Policy Institute (PNPI) about one-third of all community college students are first-generation students. This particular segment of students faces its own unique set of challenges.
As first-generation, a student might not be as prepared for college. They do not have a parent or guardian in their households to turn to for advice on the process of applying to school, registering for classes, or tackling the many steps needed to obtain financial aid.
Some first-gen students also suffer from low academic self-esteem and may feel uncomfortable fitting into the college atmosphere. This makes it even more important to establish a connection, and establish it early.
Offering support to first-gen students can be as simple as making them aware of resources at their disposal.
You’ll never reach every student with one approach. Make your communications strategy as diverse as the group of students you’re trying to reach. And, don’t waste the time of a group of students who more than likely have a full plate. Whether you’re texting, emailing, or calling, the most important piece of the puzzle is the message itself.