Summer vacation is almost here! It’s an exciting time, especially for the graduating class of 2018. But with that excitement can come stress, so it’s important that your school keeps students in the loop. Keeping up with all the logistics of graduation can be hard, so a lot of schools are turning to a better way to communicate with their students. And that way is... text messaging for college!
So why texting? College students spend 94 minutes a day texting, so it makes sense to use it to advertise your activities and programs. Since emails and on-campus flyers are a thing of the past, it’s time to graduate your communications to texting.
Texting is so effective because it actually gets your message across. In fact, over 98% of text messages are read, meaning it's almost five times as effective as email for student communication. In this blog we are going to go over some great ways schools can use texting to pull off their graduations without a hitch.
Perhaps the most important way text messaging can help with graduation is keeping students in the loop and getting them prepared for their big day. Here’s how:
1. SMS Messaging for Counselor Communication
Before students even apply for graduation, they need to know that they meet the requirements.
With landline texting, faculty, administrators, and counselors can exchange text messages with students directly from a web-based inbox. This allows them to have multiple threaded text conversations with students without having to use their personal phone number.
As an added bonus, students will appreciate not having to set up an in-person appointment in order to get their simple questions answered. Whether it’s a quick question on what class to take or a longer discussion about which major fits, texting allows counselors to help students year round.
2. Text Messaging for Graduation Milestones and Alerts
Whether it is a registration reminder, deadline to declare majors, FAFSA update, or a relevant job fair reminder, it’s important to send reminders throughout the year to your students so they stay on top of their deadlines. For example, you can send your students reminders with a link to the forms they need to still fill out in order to walk. Later, for the ones who are lagging behind, you can send them a reminder to make sure they fill them out on time.
3. Use SMS Alerts for Graduation Information
Graduation can be stressful for students, so anything your school can do to make things easier on them is crucial. By sending information about where to get graduation items like caps and robes to scheduling photos, your school will make your students feel prepared for their big day. SMS is also perfect for sending quick reminders about finals week and graduation events leading up to their graduation.
On Graduation Day
The only reliable way to reliably communicate with students on graduation day is through their phones. Here’s how you can use it on their big day to make sure things go swimmingly. Here’s how:
1. Handle Logistics with SMS Messages
Parking on graduation day is always a headache, so if you send things like maps and lot information to parents and students, you can cut down on that logistical nightmare. It’s also great for letting parents who are out of town in depth directions to the campus and to the correct area for graduation ceremonies. SMS is also perfect for sending information like dress code, registration information, and expected conduct during graduation festivities.
2. Send Schedules by Text Message
Often there are multiple different graduations on the same day, so sending out a schedule so that students know where to be is important. This also ensures that your administrative staff can make sure that everything is running smoothly. You can include information about the times of speakers, expected start time, and photo information so students know where they need to be to take advantage of all of your fantastic graduation day events.
3. Send SMS Congratulation Messages
Once graduation is over, send students a quick congratulation message, as well as links to your online photo album so they can see pictures of the big day as soon as they are uploaded. Plus there’s no better way to send a few fun MMS pictures after graduation than a few quick text messages to interested students.
Helping students after they graduate is vital to fostering a lifelong relationship and increasing alumni donations. Here’s how SMS can help:
1. Send Text Message Notifications
Texting is the perfect way to keep students up to date with quick messages about when their diplomas and graduation photos are in the mail. Texting is also perfect for keeping alumni up to date on things like sporting events and alumni days where they can meet current students or catch up with their peers.
2. Target SMS to Help with Job Placement
Whether it’s an opening in your IT department or just advertising an upcoming job fair, sending interested students information to help them find their dream job is vital for alumni satisfaction. By keeping different distribution lists depending on their major, you can send students job information that is relevant to them, leading to less opting-out.
Also after a job fair, you could send a link to a interest form to everyone who attended. Based on the response, send more information about open positions or other job fairs that match their interests.
3. SMS Marketing to Reach Alumni
You may be surprised to learn that 96% of smartphone users text. So when you’re planning your next alumni reunion or donation drive, texting is the best possible channel to get the word out about these special events. Harvard University's office of Alumni Affairs & Development uses SMS to stay in contact with their alumni.
Text message marketing also allows you to solicit donations from alumni by running text-to-donate campaigns using mobile keywords, allowing you to keep their contact information up-to-date and generate more contributions. You can even reach out to specific groups of alumni based off of their interests or past involvement in your programs.
For example, if an alumni indicates that they were a student athlete, you can let them know when games and fundraisers are scheduled for your athletic teams. This makes them more likely to contribute, and they will be less likely to opt-out of your messaging campaigns if you only send them offers relevant to them.
Are you a school looking to streamline how you operate? If so, download our Higher Education Brochure for more information.