Text messaging has the power to improve the student experience. Higher education institutions that opt for this popular, convenient, and preferred method of communication will likely start to see increases in engagement, enrollment, and other areas that will enhance the student experience overall.
Here are some of the ways text messaging can help you make the experience even better for your students:
Higher education institutions have their work cut out for them when it comes to recruiting new students. The amount of effort that goes into finding students, proving that your university is the right choice, and then finally getting them to enroll—there are entire teams dedicated to the task.
One way to ensure that your recruitment efforts aren’t going to waste is to use text messaging to improve the student experience even before classes have begun and increased your enrollment at the same time.
How can you do it?
Text messages can help you reach students in a unique way that keeps your institution top of mind. When faced with a decision, students who are presented with a welcoming form of communication might already feel they have established a relationship with your school before enrolling. This relationship is critical, as there are lots of factors at play when it comes to making the right higher ed decision, but encouraging convenient, familiar communication is a great start. Students might feel comfortable and taken care of—something email communication simply can never achieve.
Keep students engaged
Whether it’s faculty members letting students know about a change in schedule or a class cancelation, keeping in touch with students using the form of communication they use most can be essential.
There are lots of reasons staff and faculty might want to reach students, whether it’s small, personal messages to a single class or blasts to the entire student body. Doing so via text message just makes the most sense for this age group. In fact, 18–24-year-olds send an average of 109.5 text messages a day. If you truly want to reach them, why not meet them where they already are?
Communicating like this with students lets them stay in the know about time-sensitive and school-related information. This, in turn, keeps them engaged and in touch with your faculty and staff as much as possible. With significant declines in student retention during the 2020-2021 school year, it’s important to keep students engaged with your higher ed institution and not feeling like an outsider. You want to keep the students you’ve worked hard to enroll, and you want to give them the best student experience possible, which should mean you connect with them in the most convenient way possible.
Send safety alerts
During the pandemic, getting in touch (and staying in touch) with students over health and safety measures has been critical. It’s the real-time impact of text messaging that makes a difference in this case. Though we would rather not have to send them, there are certainly times when health and safety alerts must be sent. When it comes to the safety of your students, you want those messages to be received, read, and understood as quickly and as effectively as possible.
Whereas it takes a mere 90 seconds for the average person to respond to a text message, it takes them 90 minutes to respond to an email. And that’s if they even read the email at all. All but 20 percent of emails go completely unread. Text messages, on the other hand, are read 98 percent of the time. That’s a read rate that’s almost perfect.
Speed and deliverability—that’s what you want when you’re trying to reach all students in a hurry.
Speaking of health and safety, offering support to students via text message could be a game changer for those who are in need. Students might be in need of academic counseling support, career questions, or mental health guidance—why not make it easy for them to reach you with their questions?
So much of the student experience is in the ability of students to engage with the university on their terms. If you’re easy to get in touch with and quick to respond in a method that’s convenient to them, you become a beacon of convenient communication that opens doors to unprecedented support for students.
Student engagement teams know this, but the more supported your students feel, the more engaged they will be with your institution and the higher the retention rate will be. Plus, you get to be there for people who need your support, and that’s a win all on its own.
Avochato is a text messaging solution for educational institutions looking to engage students with more success. Learn more about Avochato.
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