With the first day of school right around the corner, universities need to prepare their incoming students for the new year. Email has long been the standard for communicating with students, but it often yields very unimpressive results. That’s why schools are turning to the one form of communication that is sure to reach their students: text messaging.
Here are 7 back to school tips for universities to use texting to better service their students:
Ensure That Class Enrollment Deadlines Are Met
With college life being busier than ever, today’s youth are often challenged with meeting deadlines. But there’s no need to worry, because texting can ensure that all of your students meet their enrollment dates. By posting a text keyword on advertisements across campus or on your university’s website, you can easily collect the contact information of your incoming students while enabling them to receive text reminders of important deadlines.
Utilizing automated text campaigns, you can schedule your reminders in advance and have them sent at predetermined times or when specific actions occur. For example, if a student texts into the BIOLOGY keyword, automatically send them a link to the upcoming semester's course offerings for biology. By scheduling weekly text alerts to remind students to sign up for classes or pay their tuition, you will avoid having to place holds on their accounts.
Send Reminders of Required Books and Materials
Posting multiple keywords for each class allows professors to sort students into distribution lists to send out relevant reminders to students. Instead of messaging all of their students, they can message their “Wednesday” list to avoid giving their Thursday students the wrong information.
To make the most out of the first day, professors can send a mass text to each of their classes with a list of materials and assignments they should bring. It can take weeks for books to arrive, so the sooner students order their materials the better.
Most students won’t take the time to look at the syllabus prior to the first day, so they will likely show up unprepared for the class. With an overall read rate of 98%, sending your students the class syllabus via an MMS message will ensure they are familiar with the course description and curriculum.
Send Welcome Messages to Get Students Engaged in Campus Life
Incoming freshmen are often overwhelmed when arriving to college, as they are unfamiliar with campus culture, new classes, and being on their own for the first time. To help them transition successfully into college life, send them a welcome message and back to school tips on their first day of school. You can even include an MMS with pictures or send them links to videos of campus events to get them excited about all of your university’s activities.
Send Reminders For Sporting Events
Most students desire to be involved in campus life, especially during the first week of school when everyone is excited about a new year and new possibilities. Make sure you don’t leave any of your students out of the festivities by sending mass reminders of upcoming sporting events. Students can text to confirm if they will attend so you can better plan your events. As a result, you will maximize attendance and student satisfaction.
To get the most traffic to your school events, you shouldn’t focus on a single channel for communications. Instead, you should use an SMS software that has cross-channel communication. This enables you to advertise your school events across all channels including text, email, social media, and voice broadcasting. Today’s youth often have a preference for how they communicate, so broadcasting across all channels will ensure all your students are aware of your events.
Alert Students of Class Time Changes and Cancellations
Coordination between faculty and students is challenging to say the least. Students are often uninformed of news about their majors, updates in class schedule, and other academic news. Two-way texting can establish consistent communication between staff and students to relay this essential information in a timely manner.
A facet of university life that catches students off guard is when professors cancel classes last-minute. With email having a staggeringly low read rate of 22%, it’s no wonder that students still show up to cancelled classes. Wth a overall read rate of 98%, texting is an effective way of informing students about cancelled classes. This is especially useful for commuter students, who might make a long trip to campus unnecessarily.
Engage With Students
Improving your university relies mainly on collecting feedback from students to identify areas that need adjusting. Sending out quick SMS surveys get students engaged and streamlines the feedback collection process. And with reporting analytics, you can quickly identify what kinds of input have the most support to make the best changes to your university policies.
Address Critical Situations and Send Immediate Alerts
Keeping your staff and students safe is of the utmost importance for universities to create a safe and prosperous learning environment. Texting is the fastest and most reliable way of addressing critical situations, with texting having a read rate of 91% within 3 minutes. A blast can be sent to all staff and students at once, instead of attempting to call each person individually. You simply don’t have time to waste during an emergency, so using the quickest form of mass communication will help to maximize campus safety.
The Yes/No feature of texting can get a headcount of who is safe and who may still be in danger. Simply send a mass message asking if they’re okay, and if they reply yes their response will be recorded and they will automatically receive a message to stay away from campus. If they reply no, you can ask for their location and then send search and rescue or an evacuation plan to their phone.
There are endless possibilities for universities to use texting to communicate with staff and students. Click here to learn more!