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Improve the One-Stop Student Service Center at Your Institution

by Rachel Hicks | September 17, 2019
Improve the One-Stop Student Service Center at Your Institution

A trend that’s hardly new to the field of higher education is one-stop student service centers. It's likely you might even have a one-stop student service center at your college as they've grown in popularity over the years. They address what used to be (and still is at many colleges and universities) a major inconvenience for students. That inconvenience is a lack of a central “hub” for students to go to whenever they have a situation to address.

Take, for instance, the incoming student who receives an email reminding her to register for classes. As a result of the email, she comes in to register for classes. Once she arrives on campus and registers, her academic advisor tells her to set up a payment plan. The student nods and pulls out her wallet.

“No… You’ll need to stop by the cashier’s office,” the academic advisor notes. “Their office is two blocks down in the Finance Building. Afterward, stop by and have your student ID made. You can do that in the building three blocks this direction, then make a right, and one more left, and—”

This type of conversation is eliminated with one-stop student service centers. All of these actions can be accomplished in a single place on campus, helping incoming students avoid feeling overwhelmed before they even begin classes. This is invaluable for incoming freshmen, particularly those who are also first-generation college students.

A student’s perspective

One student openly shared her perspective on one-stop student service centers and how they can enhance the student experience. She notes how frustrating it can be for college students who are already extremely pressed for time to be forced to run from building to building to take necessary steps for their education. She also mentions an eye-opening consideration for today’s college staff:

Growing up in the age of Amazon, Google, and giant superstores stocked with everything imaginable, the current college-age generation is accustomed to convenience, efficiency, and speed. Why shouldn’t my university function the same way?

She’s absolutely right. Today’s colleges must keep up with the demands of today’s college students. One way of doing just this is by implementing one-stop student service centers.

Texting gets students on campus

An extension of providing students with a one-stop student service center on campus is providing them another invaluable service: text messaging.

Truthfully, this is an idea we got from our partners. Recently, we’ve had several partners express to us that text messaging helps them increase their on-campus traffic. Olympic College told us that some of their text nudges strategically lead students directly to campus. Dallas Promise also noted that students participate more in activities as a result of texting. In fact, staff note that texting helps them foster a stronger relationship with their students for in-person meetings.

Texting clearly helps get students on campus and promotes their being active in various activities. But texting can be used specifically to enhance one-stop student service centers on campus.

Texting to enhance the one-stop student service center at your college

Because texting gets students on campus, it makes sense to use texting to enhance one-stop student service centers. There are many use cases for texting in one-stop student service center environments. For example, staff can eliminate the long wait times for students as they wait to see a staff member from a particular department. Staff can have students sign in (via mobile device, if technology allows) and then text students when it’s their turn to be seen. This will allow students to spend the wait time as they see fit versus being stuck in a chair in the waiting room of an administrative building. This will leave students feeling less frustrated.

Additionally, college staff can equip one-stop student service center staff members with texting as a tool to contact students when needed – and vice versa. Much like their on-campus one-stop student service center, college staff can offer students a number to text whenever they have questions. Staff can also use texting to let students know when they need to take action. For example, staff can text students to let them know they need to come to the on-campus one-stop student service center to take care of a financial aid issue, to register for classes, and so on.

Learn more

You can learn more about how best to use texting in your communication strategy with students by checking out our Texting Best Practices resources. Happy texting!

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