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Admissions Texting: Applicants

by Rachel Hicks | May 29, 2019
Admissions Texting: Applicants

texting applicants

Hooray! You’ve watched your students move through the admissions funnel, going from prospects to inquiries, and now they’re applicants! Therefore, the hard work is over…right?

Well, not quite.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t do a little celebrating. Truly, it’s a feat to get students this far through the pipeline, yet here you are! But your interaction with students is likely to pick up from here.

A quick Google search will show how complex the application process can seem for students. In fact, many results center around tips for students as they work through completing college applications. A recurring theme among these results is the importance of students’ knowing exactly what’s needed to complete the application process for each institution they plan to apply to.

Texting applicants

In our first admissions blog post in this series, we covered why texts are an excellent form of outreach for today’s college students. This is particularly true once students become applicants. Signal Vine’s texting platform makes it possible to personalize student texts both broadly and specifically. For example, admissions reps can segment applicants from all other students in their database. They can also be more specific to a student’s unique profile, such as automating a text to let applicants know which documents are missing from their application packet.

Signal Vine’s Blended Messaging® approach perfects these exchanges. For example, take a look at the below conversation which features an automated message, a student response, and a staff response.

texting applicants

Discussion

First, notice how personalized the first message is. The green text in this message shows profile fields built into this school’s Signal Vine platform. The original fields might have been student_firstname, counselor_firstname, and missing_from_application. However, these change based on the specific message recipient. Admissions reps might have scheduled this text to go out to all students who had at least one document missing from their admissions packet. Based on the information the Signal Vine platform had on this student, it was able to personalize the message to note the exact documents missing from her admissions packet. The best part is staff didn't need to put forth any extra time or effort to make this personalized text happen.

Blended Messaging® made it possible for the student to ask a question and get a human response. When the system didn’t receive an expected response (in this case, yes or no), it flagged the message for a staff member to respond. This gave the admissions staff an opportunity to reach out and help the student.

Perhaps most importantly, Signal Vine makes it possible for students to text admissions staff any time they have questions. The admissions process can be daunting for students. This ability to text for help whenever it’s needed helps to assure students that the school they’re applying to is there to support them every step of the way. This is why texting applicants is so successful.

In action: NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars

Oklahoma State University’s (OSU) NASA STEM Pathway Activities Consortium for Education (NSPACE) collaborates with NASA Johnson Space CenterAgency Mission Directorates, and NASA Headquarters to provide competitive and innovative STEM educational opportunities to K-16 students and educators. One of those opportunities is NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars (NCAS).

The NCAS team wanted to increase the percentage of students who complete the online application. NCAS staff first tried to encourage students to apply via email, but many of the emails they sent bounced, remained unread, or received no response back. As a result, NCAS staff realized they needed a better way to nudge students toward better outcomes.

Results

Before implementing Signal Vine, application completion rates stood at 60% completion. Since implementing the texting initiative, NCAS has seen application rates at 67%, 69%, and 68% over the past three cycles. This significant increase in application completion rates has made a huge impact on the program’s efficiency.

texting applicants

Texting applicants works

The application process really opens up the door for two-way communication via text message. Admissions staff can use texting to nudge students to submit required documents by specified deadlines. Applicants benefit from the ability to reach out to admissions staff easily when they have questions about the application process.

In our next blog post in the Admissions Texting series, we’ll progress through the funnel with a discussion of texting admitted students.

Want to see how you can deploy campus-wide texting examples across the year?
Want to see how you can deploy campus-wide texting examples across the year?
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