Text Campaigns for College Success

Does your approach to text messaging make it easier for you to do your job? College success advisors are often stretched thin, but texting campaigns can help increase student engagement with your program and even connect you with the information you need to provide effective support. Text messages are easily tailored to different student segments, plus they’re quick, timely, and convenient – a win-win for students and advisors alike.

Read on to explore two real-life campaigns from the Dell Scholars program and learn more about how to make the most of your texting strategy.

Mass Texting for Two-Way Communications

Large-scale text campaigns may often be used to broadcast information, like a reminder about an upcoming event or deadline. But they can also provide an ideal channel for two-way communications in the style of a mini survey or single question prompt. For example, the Dell Scholars program launches a text campaign around midterms to see how students are progressing, all starting with a quick yes-no question: We understand this can be a stressful time with midterms. Are you passing all classes this academic term? Rely “Y” for Yes or “N” for No.

In just one keystroke, students can share meaningful and actionable information about their academic progress. Advisors can then launch a segmented text campaign to learn more or just reach out directly to those students who indicated they are struggling. Find a full guide to the mid-term check-in text campaign here.

Given the convenience and informality, texting can be a great way to get feedback from students, even from those who may be hard to reach through traditional channels. For students who are struggling, reaching out can be intimidating, but the casual format of a text message can help them feel more comfortable opening up. Beyond annual surveys and in-person advising, text messaging is another tool for getting the information you need to help students stay on track.

Nudging Students to Take Action

Text message nudging campaigns are ideally suited when you need students to complete a simple task: sign up for an event, schedule time with an advisor, complete a survey. It’s easy for students to overlook your survey link or invitation in an overcrowded email inbox, but a text message can cut through the clutter and prompt them to take action. Just remember – the more complicated the ask, the more likely they’ll plan to address it later (and that they’ll forget to do so).

No one enjoys receiving unsolicited or spammy messages. Take every opportunity to segment and personalize communications so students feel like you’re talking directly to them, and even better if the message is coming from an advisor they know and trust. Pay close to attention to whether your campaigns are prompting the desired action and tailor messaging accordingly in the future.

Segmented Campaigns

You may have a group of students who face a common persistence challenge, such as student parents, or those working a significant number of hours outside of school. The last thing these students need is another email in their inbox, but they could benefit from ongoing communication specific to the challenges they are facing. Inviting a select group of students to opt into a text campaign can be the perfect way to keep your program top of mind, share resources and words of encouragement, and help keep them on track.

Based on the situational survey, advisors in the Dell Scholars program identify students who are struggling with a negative mindset or with their mental wellbeing. The students are then invited to opt into a text wellness campaign, and those that do will receive one message every four to six weeks offering extra support. It’s a way for advisors to share useful tips and resources, but also a way to keep the lines of communication open. Click here to see sample messages in the mental wellbeing campaign (page 26).

Text messages may be short and simple, but they can be a surprisingly versatile tool for advisors looking to engage students and provide support along the college journey.

Explore more tips on how to boost student engagement in our new e-book,The Ultimate Guide to Student Engagement for College Success Advisors