How addicted are Americans to their mobile devices? Well, 87 percent of adults own a mobile device, and 84 percent can’t go a day without being connected to their phones. Nearly half sleep within reach of their phones.
That sure sounds like an addiction. It even has a name: nomophobia.
And here are some other stats that should pique the interest of educational institutions: teens get an average of 3,000 texts a month — and read 97 percent of them. Sixty-five percent of students are willing to receive texts from schools, but only 16 percent say they ever have.
There’s an opportunity here for schools to connect with students — and improve the student experience — even before they enroll.
Use Texting to Help Students Succeed in College
Schools are now using texting strategies to help students stay organized as they make the transition from high school to college. For example, the state of West Virginia launched a text program this year that nurtures students the summer before their first semester by sending out reminders for deadlines, financial aid services, registration and other student affairs. These alerts can prod students to request more information from counselors or simply remember important deadlines.
In West Virginia’s case, the state is especially aiming toward students from low-income families in an effort to provide a support system and boost enrollment. Ten to 15 percent of students nationwide who are accepted into college programs fail to enroll after high school. That can reach 20-30 percent for lower-income students.
Other universities can take a page from West Virginia’s book and begin applying a similar strategy to stay connected with students. From deadline reminders to outreach opportunities and even messages to the entire campus about public safety or threatening weather, universities should keep in mind the platform students use most: their phones.
Reinforce Student Recruiting with Text Messaging
Schools also have started to use texting as part of their recruiting efforts. Email marketing has long been the main method of reaching prospective students, but it can be even more effective when coupled with texting. Universities can take advantage of other web-based or communications platforms in order to reach students. Some students have shown an interest in communicating via social media, chat rooms and even webcasts.
Organize Text Lists With NetPage Unlimited
Schools would be wise to engage students on every possible channel. But how do they keep track of and manage all these communications?
One way is to use a product like LRS’ NetPage Unlimited (NPU), an advanced communications platform that allows users to organize lists of phone numbers and can mass-text a short message to those lists. Schools can create separate lists for staff and faculty, prospective students, specific student classifications, donors and even alumni.
NPU gives educational institutions the ability to stay in touch with students and staff and alert them when necessary. While mass text and email was previously used only for emergencies, closed campus notifications or other urgent matters, universities can now use the technology on a more day-to-day basis, engaging students with useful information and enriching the student experience.
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