4 Things Texting Can Do BEYOND Emergency Alerts for Universities

Posted by Justin McIntire on

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As enrollment numbers grow, there can often be some communication hiccups for universities. Thousands of students and staff need to stay informed and be kept in the loop, which can often lead to headaches for the administration. Thousands of universities are turning to text messaging as their main emergency alert system, but that’s not all that texting can offer. Texting is far and away the most common form of communication for college students, and more and more universities are turning to it as the primary way of connecting with their students.

Below are four ways that your campus can use texting to keep your student and staff on the same page.


Preparing for College

Texting has uses before the student is even ready to apply. Through outreach the university can identify potential students and once they opt-in they can text them periodic reminders about SAT or ACT test dates. This allows the university to see which students are passionate about applying to their university, and in turn will ensure they get both higher application numbers and higher quality applicants overall.

We all know the application process is an exciting time as students are starting to get their feet wet with adulthood. Often it is the first time students have to fill out in-depth paperwork, and many really need some help with the applications. That’s why more and more universities are turning to two-way texting to communicate with prospective students, as it allows you to have a conversation with students in real time. This allows colleges to make the prospective students  feel welcome and well-informed, which in turn helps grow trust between the student and the college, helping them ensure higher enrollment.

Because texting has a higher open rate than email, you can promote campus tours and events more effectively by texting students reminders.

In the Classroom

While professors often shun having phones in the classroom, it is simply a fact of life nowadays that students will have them and use them. Systems like iClickers can be burdensome to use, so why not use the device your student already has? By encouraging the use of mobile phones for particular aspects of your classroom, you can engage students who would otherwise not be engaged, allowing them to ask questions or bring up concerns.

For example, Professor Jon Beaupre of Cal State University Los Angeles noticed that there was a lack of  educational and interactive tools in his classroom. He decided to use a text-to-screen program so his students could text in questions for his panel discussions, in turn increasing involvement and fostering a richer educational environment.

Professors can also do things like text links to lecture notes or send reminders about upcoming tests. With texting’s 98% read rate, educators can be sure that their messages are read and can in turn count on a more prepared and engaged classroom.

Guidance Counselors

Modern day guidance counselors have a lot on their plate. Whether it's keeping up with student schedules to make sure they are taking the right classes or advising students on what majors they may be suited for, counselors need a way to keep up with the demand for their time.

Texting is simply the best method of communication with millennials, and the power of texting allows counselors to efficiently communicate with their students. This frees up the counselors to have more time doing what they love doing: helping their students be successful. For example, counselors can now send out text blasts to all of their Engineering students reminding them to sign up for their major-specific scholarships. Or they can then follow up with new students on a one-to-one basis to see how their schedule is working out and address any concerns immediately.

For example, Sonoma State University needed a way to communicate with their students. They noticed that emails were rarely ever opened and paper flyers were largely ineffective. Once they integrated a texting solution, they were able to easily send out major updates and inform students about application and FAFSA deadlines. All in all, over 40 percent of undergrads decided to opt-in!

Post Graduation

Whether it’s to poll alumni about improvements that can be made or solicit donations, universities need to be able to stay in contact with their graduates. By keeping in touch and listening to your alumni, it helps build school loyalty and in turn can foster higher engagement and donations.

One of the most requested features for graduating students is job placement. Using texting you can quickly communicate openings relevant to your graduate’s major. For example, if you have an opening in your IT department you can forward that to recent Computer Science graduates.

Donations are a huge part of the universities funding, so it makes sense that they turn to the most powerful communication channel. With a proven 40% higher conversion rate than email, texting allows you to increase your reach and ensure a higher donation rate. This is both better for the school’s funding and simplifies the donation process for alumni, creating a win-win for everyone.


Those are just a few of the exciting new applications texting can contribute to Higher Education. Click here to learn more!
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Topics: Education