One of the major indicators of success for universities and colleges is student retention. Out of all the first-time, full-time students that enrolled in a 4-year university in fall 2012, 20% didn’t return for fall 2013 (NCES). One of the main reasons students don’t return in the fall is lack of student engagement due to poor communication. Notification emails are effective but, may go unchecked for quite some time. However, SMS can aid in boosting retention rates for many universities by maintaining a direct line of communication between student and university.
In all the hustle and bustle of everyday student life, it is easy for important deadlines to fly under the radar. Unfortunately, missing important deadlines can drastically affect whether or not a student returns for another semester. Although email is still the preferred method of communication among many universities, it doesn’t boast the immediacy that SMS has. 90% of all texts are opened within 3 minutes, a drastic change from the 47 minutes it takes for 90% email response.
By using a basic SMS campaign, reminder texts can be sent out to students. Since these texts are more likely to be read than email, more students will be better prepared for upcoming deadlines. When students keep up with these important dates, like FAFSA or enrollment deadlines, they are better prepared to return for another semester.
360 Degree Student Engagement
Student engagement goes beyond communications between students and the university. Many university students do more than just study, they also engage in many different activities. SMS can keep students engaged both in and out of the classroom. Professors can utilize an SMS dialog campaign to facilitate class conversations while on-campus organizations, like alumni relations or Greek life, can send mass texts to keep members updated. Essentially, SMS can maintain 360 degree student engagement by simplifying communications from all aspects of student life.