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8 College SMS Strategies You Can Steal

8 College SMS Strategies You Can Steal

Gen Z is now the main demographic on college campuses, which means you need to communicate the way they do.

If your eyes glaze over when an article opens by referring to Gen Z, we understand. 

It can sound like a lot of unhelpful mumbo-jumbo. 

But trust us when we say that Gen Z—the generation born after 1996—represents a clear break from the past. 

Think about it: millennials can remember dial-up and other fledgling technologies, while most of Gen Z can’t. They’re the first generation to grow up not knowing what it’s like to be without a smartphone.

You can’t talk about how higher education institutions communicate with students and not acknowledge them. It’s also why one communication mode rises above the rest: texting. 

In a LivePerson survey investigating the “digital lives of Millennials and Gen Z,” nearly 75% of respondents told researchers that they’d rather text than talk on the phone. (This cohort also sees email as outdated and is three times more likely to open a text message.)

With that in mind, here are eight higher education texting examples you can steal.

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1. Offer an SMS Hotline for Students

The largest university in the Carolinas, NC State, decided to support their virtual orientation this year using an SMS hotline.

During Zoom calls, they advertised a phone number that students could text questions to. Here’s an example of one such question and answer.

Today 10:53 AM
Do I need to send in my dual enrollment transcript if I won’t be using the class for college credit?
Your dual enrollment transcript counts as part of your academic history, so just as you are required to send in your high school transcript, you are required to send in the dual enrollment transcript as well!

In the end, 6,672 students had their questions answered, plus 700 students and parents subscribed to future text notifications.

"When it comes to communication, we found that texting was so beneficial. Especially when you consider how many people were able to have their questions answered."

Molly Basdeo Mountjoy

Molly Basdeo Mountjoy

Coordinator, New Student Programs

2. Communicate Important Deadlines to Students

Report after report has shown that undergraduates today experience more anxiety and stress than ever before.

Colleges and universities have taken notice. Higher ed administrators are creating mentoring programs and expanding students’ access to services.

Those are significant efforts. But they are also large and slow-moving. 

A quick and straightforward way to make students’ lives easier is to use a business text messaging service to remind students about deadlines.

With open rates and click-through rates as high as 98%, it’s a great way to ensure college students don’t have to deal with the stress of a missed application deadline again.

Today 10:53 AM
Students, reminder that the last day to register for fall 2020 semester classes is Friday, September 8th, 2020.

3. Provide Helpful Tips By SMS

Whether it’s communicating ways to make exam time less stressful or providing essential information on topics ranging from financial aid to nutrition, mass texting is a great way to provide helpful information to students.

Today 10:53 AM
You may want to give some exams more study time than others, so find a balance that makes you feel comfortable. For other tips, check out our exam guide here:

4. Send Emergency Alerts to Staff and Students

For example, the University of Alabama set up a text messaging and email service that allows them to send emergency information to students and staff who register called UA alerts.

They then send texts when there’s an emergency that poses an imminent physical threat to the community. 

Students and staff can update their contact information using their “myBama” portal. 

Each night the system automatically updates the database, capturing any changes made by students/employees that day.

5. Send Out SMS Surveys

A lot of universities use SimpleTexting to send mass SMS surveys

Sometimes these surveys are part of a research projectas was the case with Wake Forest University—and sometimes they’re to help gather information about students’ opinions of new initiatives.

With a response rate that’s 7.5x higher than email, their popularity is no surprise.

Today 10:53 AM
Help the Dean’s office plan for Trinity’s future: let us know how you feel about pedestrianizing college road. Fill out the survey here and be in for a chance to win a $100 voucher for the Trinity college store:

6. Use SMS For Student Recruitment

One of the most popular higher education mass texting strategies is to target prospective students with information about your institution. 

Although it may only seem like its students competing to get into their school of choice, educational facilities are also competing to be the school of choice. 

To stand out during recruitment time, it’s a good idea to send exciting facts about your campus, articles about successful alumni, and what a student has to gain by enrolling at your school.

You can even send personalized text messages with the student’s name or other information like the major they’re interested in.

Today 10:53 AM
Hi Derik, a recent study shows Princeton grads earning in top income brackets with their economics major. Read all about it at

7. Use Texting for Alumni Relations

Fundraising from a mobile device increased by 205% in 2018, and 49% of all mobile giving occurred in response to text links. 

On top of this, around 37% of alumni say they prefer receiving information from their alma mater via periodic texts compared to 28% via a mobile app, 19% via a website, and 3% via Facebook messaging. 

Yet only 6.5% of alumni relations staff report using SMS messages to conduct alumni outreach.

You can use our higher education text messaging platform to build relationships with your alumni, giving your fundraising efforts a boost.

Today 10:53 AM
Hey Longhorns! Check out our brand new redesigned website and keep up to date on all future events:

8. SMS Marketing for Sports, Arts, and Other Events

Text marketing is an excellent addition to your university’s events promotion strategy. You can text students and invite them to RSVP by replying. Then, issue reminders and send out links to a survey for attendee feedback. 

Texting can also be useful for sports events: the University of Florida uses SMS to send updates and reminders for upcoming football games.

Today 10:53 AM
This Saturday the Crimson Tide faces Alabama! Get discount tickets here before they’re gone:

Try Our Texting Software For Higher Education

SMS text messages are a great way to increase student engagement and spread campus news, events, and more. 

If you want to try out our higher education text messaging platform, all you need to do is sign up for a 14-day free trial. And, if you have questions about our text messaging service for schools, email us at [email protected]

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