How to Automate College SMS Workflows

Student using College SMS

College SMS is the way of the future for most institutes of higher learning. It’s the most effective way to reach today’s students, ensuring that your administrative and academic departments have a strong rapport with them. In fact, students may like texting so much that it’s hard for your team to manage all of their incoming messages. That’s why you’ll want to automate college SMS workflows where you can. 

Defining College SMS Workflows

College SMS workflows are the repetitive processes you and your team complete day after day as you manage student texts.

These can include:

  • Responding to common questions
  • Sending regular informative content
  • Confirming received paperwork 

These tasks may seem simple. However, you’ll find that they can take up a lot of time if you add up the minutes your team spends on them each week. That’s why it’s a good idea to automate college SMS workflows. 

How to Automate College SMS Workflows

Before you automate college SMS workflows, you need to identify the triggers and actions in the workflow. A trigger is the initial signal that lets you know that you need to do something next. For example, receiving an incoming text can be the trigger that lets you know you need to answer it. Answering the text is the action. 

Once you’ve identified the trigger and action of a workflow, you can head to your college SMS platform’s automation setup page. The platform should make it easy to select the triggers and actions. Then it will create your college SMS automation workflow. 

3 Examples of College SMS Automation Workflows

It can be tricky to figure out which college SMS workflows to automate. To help, we’ve included three popular examples of college SMS automation workflows. Copy these exact set ups or use them as inspiration to create your own—it’s up to you. 

Auto Replies to FAQs

There’s a good chance your teams answer a lot of the same questions every day. Prospective students may ask if your campus is open for tours. Current students may ask when a department’s advising hours are. Alumni may ask what the homecoming dates are. 

To set up an FAQ automation, your team should: 

  1. Identify common questions 
  2. Choose a keyword (or, more likely, keywords) often included in those questions. 
  3. Set up an auto reply for each question by choosing a trigger (the keyword in an incoming question) and an action (sending a specific SMS template). 

An auto reply may look like the following example:

Hi there! We are open for outdoor campus visits. Please reply with SCHEDULE to start scheduling your visit! Text STOP to stop receiving texts. 

Content Drip Campaigns

Your team probably sends prospective and current students a wide variety of content. For example, you may send multiple SMS reminders about class registration deadlines. You may send a few informational texts about your admissions process. Whatever content you send, it may make sense to set up drip campaigns for it. 

Your team can:

  1. Choose a list of recipients. (You can add additional recipients to SMS drip campaigns at any time.)
  2. Select how many days apart you’d like the messages to be sent.
  3. Create a series of SMS templates, leaving space for students’ custom fields (like first names). 
  4. Set the automation to remove students from the list if they reply with opt-out requests. 

An SMS drip campaign template may look like the following example:

Hi there {{student name}}! Don’t forget to sign up for fall classes by August 15. You’ll find the class portal link in your email or on our admissions website. Please let us know if you need any help! Text STOP to stop receiving texts. 


Your students have a lot on their minds. It’s hard enough for them to remember to send in all of the paperwork or bills they undoubtedly owe your teams. Give them peace of mind by letting them know when you’ve received their items—right when they are logged in your student management system. 

To automate this confirmation process, your team can:

  1. Integrate your college SMS platform with your student management system.
  2. Enable data syncing between the two platforms. 
  3. Create a trigger. In this case a trigger may be a student’s custom field changing to “Payment Received” or “Paperwork Received” or “Enrollment Confirmed.”
  4. Set your platform’s action (for after it identifies that trigger). In this case, the action may be sending a confirmation text template. 

An SMS receipt confirmation may look like the following example:

Hello {{student name}}. You’ve successfully enrolled in 4 classes for the fall semester. Please refer to your email for details. Text STOP to stop receiving texts. 


Want to learn more about college SMS? Check out our resource page.

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