There are more colleges and universities in the U.S. than ever before—which means that there’s more competition between schools, too. Colleges that want to attract and secure the most applicants have to step up their game, using the method that appeals to college students the most: text recruiting.
High school students don’t like to check their email accounts, let alone answer phone calls. Some students haven’t even used email before. Texting and messaging via over-the-top (OTT) apps like Facebook Messenger have become their favorite methods of communication. Universities across the country have started to take advantage of this trend. They’re seeing good results, too.
For example, in their first year of text recruiting, St. Mary’s University reported that 30.8% of prospective students who signed up for their college SMS program ended up applying, compared with 10.9% of all prospective students. Similarly, Georgia State’s texting program led to a 3.9% higher enrollment rate in the experimental group when compared to the control group.
Read on to learn 6 key ways your college or university can use text recruiting to reach more students. Just remember to secure your contacts’ opt ins before you start texting.
What Can Colleges Accomplish with Text Recruiting?
Share Important Information With Potential Students
Today, convenience is the name of the game. Sure, you could ask high school students to look up your institution’s information, including benefits, average test scores, potential majors, and campus location, but busy students are not likely to go out of their way to search for it.
Instead, once students sign up for your SMS for recruitment service, you can send this information directly.
Recruiters can text recipients with:
- Short texts listing reasons to apply
- Key information, like deadlines or fee waivers
- Directions for accessing important webpages
However, keep in mind that although your recipients have signed up for your texting program, they most likely don’t want to hear from you all the time. Keep these informative texts to a minimum, sending them only as needed.
Use SMS Appointment Scheduling For Campus Visits
Campus visits are a big part of the application process for new students. However, today’s high schoolers aren’t interested in scheduling via the phone or email. Plus, scheduling via email is a slow process—if students even check their email in the first place.
Instead, offer scheduling capabilities via college SMS. Students will be more willing to reach out to schedule appointments, and more likely to complete the scheduling process. Because the average person answers text messages within 90 seconds, scheduling will be completed in near real-time.
When you use an SMS recruitment platform that supports Apple Business Chat, high schoolers with iPhones can even choose open scheduling times directly through the Messages iOS app.
Additionally, when students schedule campus visits through your text recruiting program, you can schedule personalized SMS reminders for a set number of days before the visit itself.
Offer A Real-Time Help Line
Today’s high schoolers are used to receiving responses quickly, which is one reason why they love texting. But most colleges and universities only answer admissions questions through email or phone calls—two options that are not appealing to today’s youths.
By offering a real-time help line through college SMS, your team encourages prospective students to reach out and make a real connection with your institution. When promoting this option, let high schoolers know your response times, as well as the types of questions your team can answer via recruiting text message.
These might include questions about:
- Academic opportunities
- Application requirements
- Campus culture
- Financial aid
With a college SMS option available, prospective students will be more likely to send in their questions and, in turn, apply to your program.
Provide Application Tips
Applying to colleges and universities is a stressful ordeal for most high schoolers. They’re under a lot of pressure to send in top-notch applications that present their high school activities in the best light possible.
To help high schoolers feel less overwhelmed, offer application tips as part of your text recruiting program. Your recruiting team can send a wide variety of general and specific application tips, including:
- Application checklists
- Personal essay examples
- Time management strategies
Sending a recruiting text message containing this information is sure to catch high schoolers’ attention, offering them support during this stressful period and highlighting your institution’s welcoming community at the same time.
Send SMS Reminders For Deadlines
Given the constant classes, extracurriculars, and studying that high schoolers engage in—let alone additional college applications—it can be hard for prospective students to keep track of all of their deadlines.
With text recruiting, you can send your prospective students reminders in real-time to a channel they’ll be sure to check. After all, text messages have a 98% open rate.
Text recruiting teams can even send reminders to large lists of recipients all at once. An SMS recruitment platform can use merge tokens to draw from each recipient’s custom fields, personalizing outgoing recruiting text messages with key information like names and programs of interest.
Ready to start your text recruiting program? Try out our SMS recruitment platform for free today.