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Using a phone to text students is (now) a bad idea

2 min read

Many institutions provide admissions counselors with mobile phones. It makes sense. It allows them to not have to use their personal mobile for university business. They can check email, send texts, receive phone calls and communicate with students without an added out of pocket expense.

In recent years, students have been responding less and less to phone calls, voicemails and emails; which can be infuriating if your primary job is to communicate with students.

Progressive institutions and counselors have realized that students will actually respond to texts. Not only respond, but respond almost immediately and these texts are often the catalyst for meaningful conversations. Many of our clients are even reporting that students are much more likely to talk by phone after texting (imagine that!).

Sounds dreamy, right? 

So… why is texting a student from a mobile phone “bad”??

I guess “bad” might be too vague. Perhaps, words like “inefficient” ,“laborious”, “unmanageable”, and “disconnected” might be better adjectives.

In order to text students with a mobile phone, counselors must:

  • Manually enter (what they believe to be) the student’s mobile number into their cell phone.
  • Use their thumbs to spell out sentences as conversations become valuable.
  • Carry around two mobile phones and chargers.
  • Enter the student’s name as a “contact” so they can keep track of who is who.
  • Manually update the CRM with any information of inaccurate or invalid numbers (or.. just skip this step if they are too busy).
  • Assuming the number was accurate, manually update the CRM with these meaningful touch points (or skip this as well if too busy).
  • Put the phone down and refer back to the CRM for updated information on app/enrollment status (repeat this step as often as needed).
  • Repeat the above steps for hundreds of students.

This is starting to sound less dreamy and more “inefficient”, “laborious”, “unmanageable”, and “disconnected”.

So, was it a bad idea to buy mobile phones for counselors? NO. Not at all. In fact, the more progressive the admissions office, the more likely they were to have gone down this road.

The Solution

Cadence takes on the heavy lifting and makes texting with students an absolute joy. With Cadence:

  • Counselors can text one-on-one with students (or send personalized mass texts) from a computer, tablet or mobile phone.
  • Relevant student data from enrollment status and intended major to missing documents are right on your screen.
  • All these “interactions” are sent back to your CRM - keeping all your data in one place.
  • Students can text or CALL your phone number. Calls are instantly forwarded to your office or mobile phone - your choice.
  • Directors and enrollment managers can see texting usage by counselor and how this is affecting conversion and - more importantly - yield.

So, should you ditch the institution provided mobile phones? Your call. With Cadence, students never see counselors personal mobile phone numbers. 


How to text students and parents without breaking privacy laws

You already manage student privacy when it comes to emails, phone calls and other channels. The good news is that texting is just another medium. Yes, there are a few special things to keep in mind, but it’s actually fairly simple to be in compliance. Here’s what you need to know.

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Communicating with parents of prospective students

There is no denying the importance of the parents’ role in college application process. Schools that find effective ways to communicate with parents will have an upper hand when it comes to college admissions. This guide will help you identify who you’re talking to and how to best earn parents’ trust.

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Best practices for texting students

If there’s one thing to take away from this blog, it’s this: Before you hit send, ask yourself, “Is this valuable information for students?”

While texting is a powerful way to engage prospective and current students, there are right and wrong ways to do it. Here are some tips for effective SMS texting.

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