College Texting Service Resource Guide

Improve the student experience with one simple tool.

Redhead student with black glasses smiling at phone

Today’s students have more responsibilities—and distractions—than ever before. With college SMS, your teams can cut through the noise and reach them with ease. College SMS is an easy-to-use and fast channel for all of your recruiting, engagement, and retention efforts. In this college texting service resource guide, you’ll learn:

  • The definition of a college texting service
  • Why you’d want to use higher education texting
  • How SMS for colleges works
  • How to use email and college SMS together
  • How to engage students through SMS
  • What higher education texting templates look like
  • Best practices for bulk SMS for universities campaigns

First time reading about business SMS? Head to our business text messaging terminology page to learn industry terms. Otherwise, dive into our college texting service resources.

What Is Higher Education Texting?

Higher education texting is SMS messaging used explicitly for school-to-student communications. It can also be used for parent and alumni communications. Unlike personal texting, it relies on a college texting service—a platform that helps administrators send, receive, and organize texts. These platforms also empower institutions to monitor texts for compliance and safety.

Higher Education Texting
Student using college SMS in the quad

Why Use a College Texting Service to Connect with Students?

Higher education texting has changed the landscape of collegiate communications. For applicants, students, parents, and alumni, it is a convenient way to receive important school information. For schools, it’s an easy way to ensure students—especially off-campus students—stay up to date. Benefits of higher education texting for colleges and universities include:

  • Higher content open rates, as students tend to open texts more than emails

  • Increased student engagement, as they can respond to texts quickly

  • Faster query resolutions, as SMS chats are swifter than email or phone conversations

Statistics About Student Texting Habits

Higher education text messaging is the most effective way for schools to reach more students and answer their questions quickly. At its most basic level, it’s one of the fastest, most popular channels out there. Plus, most of your students would rather receive texts from your school than emails or phone calls. Need proof? Check out the statistics:

How Does Higher Education Text Messaging Work?

Administrators manage higher education texting from a central business SMS platform. This platform allows you to send texts in bulk. You can select a list of recipients, then select a template and click “send.” The platform automatically inserts custom fields into each outgoing text. Any replies arrive within your shared inbox, where you can answer them individually.

High schoolers texting

Text Recruiting for Prospective Students

Text recruiting lets you reach prospective students through a channel they actually check. It’s so convenient, they are more likely to text back with questions, chat with one of your student ambassadors, or even schedule a visit. They can start chats from native SMS apps or over-the-top apps like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Google’s Business Messages, or Apple Business Chat. Administrators can monitor chats from a shared inbox.

Student texting in library

Communicating with Existing Students

With help from texting software, higher education communications are easy to manage. SMS for colleges helps your team send short content, like important due dates, safety reminders, emergency alerts, and event details. You can manage student replies within your college texting platform. Students can also text in for appointment scheduling or basic Q&A sessions.

How to Use Email and a College Texting Service Together

Higher education texting is more effective than email for brief content, like reminders and alerts. However, email is ideal for longer or more confidential content, like billing details or technical PDFs. Consider sending short content via college SMS and long content via email. You can even use SMS to remind students to check their inboxes for particularly important emails.

Young woman texting near her computer

How to Keep Students Engaged When Texting

With a single text, higher education institutions can instantly reach students. But while students are likely going to open your texts, you want them to read all of the contents, too. To keep students engaged, make sure you:

  • Keep texts short, so they’re easy to skim
  • Include emojis and GIFs, so they feel upbeat
  • Text infrequently, so students know each SMS message is important
Student's hand reaching out to tap open a college SMS message

Sample Higher Education Texting Templates

College SMS templates are reusable texts. You can choose one, then tweak and send it. You can also use one to send personalized mass texts. You can choose a list of students, leaving space for custom fields, then press “send.” College SMS templates help your team reach many students quickly. 

Two happy friends texting in a cafe

As part of our college texting service resources, we included examples for your team to adjust and use.

  • Hi {{prospective student name}}! Thanks for signing up for Bay Area College’s SMS service. Do you have any questions off the bat or would you like to connect with one of our student ambassadors? Text STOP to unsubscribe.
  • Hey there {{student name}}, and congrats! We’re excited to have you as part of our class of 2025. Text this number for any questions about your move-in on {{student move-in date}}. Text STOP to unsubscribe.
  • Hello {{student name}}, thank you for reaching out to the tutoring center. Please respond with the subject and/or class number you’d like help with. Text STOP to unsubscribe.
  • {{student}} — please be sure you have everything you need for the next 24 hours. The weather channel says that we can expect to see snow for up to 24 hours. Text STOP to unsubscribe.

Best Practices for Setting Up Higher Education Texting Campaigns

With texting software, higher education messaging is easier on your teams. But when you’re planning a campaign with bulk SMS for universities, there are still a few things to keep in mind. These best practices will help your SMS campaigns achieve their full potential.
  • 1 Get students to opt in before texting them, so you can adhere to key regulations.
  • 2 Clearly and frequently include unsubscribe instructions in texts.
  • 3 Keep content brief, so students will read all of it.
  • 4 Include students’ custom fields in templates, so each message is personalized.
  • 5 Send content to smaller groups of students, so you can customize messages with department- or subject-specific information.
  • 6 Set up SMS drip campaigns, so you can engage with students regularly.