Keystone College: Increases First-Year Enrollment
Keystone College is a private college in Pennsylvania, serving more than 1,400 undergraduate and graduate students. Throughout the application process for the 2017-2018 school year, Keystone’s admissions department launched a texting program with Signal Vine. Over a year later, Keystone continues to text through the admissions process – with significant results.
Admissions staff at Keystone were facing a problem of increasingly large caseloads. Only 5 counselors were tasked with communicating with over 3,000 applicants each year. Knowing that students prefer texting over phone calls or email and that texting is also the fastest and most efficient method of communication for both students and staff, they began texting with Google Voice. However, it became clear that Google Voice was not robust enough to provide the type of texting communication that Keystone was seeking.
Keystone admissions staff crafted a communication plan around each stage of the application process. Rather than replacing other forms of communication, their texting program, deployed through Signal Vine, was built to complement and enhance their emails, phone calls, and mailings. Student phone numbers are sourced from their applications; once a student submits an application, they begin receiving text messages for the remainder of the application process.
Throughout their first year on the Signal Vine platform, 49% of all students who submitted an application to Keystone College for the ‘17-’18 school year texted in at least once. Which is an incredible engagement rate for an admissions program. This year, only a few months into the ‘18-’19 admissions process, they’re already seeing a 39% engagement rate. Most impressively, Keystone achieved their goal of increasing yield and enrollment; they saw a 7% YOY increase in first-year enrollment after implementing Signal Vine. Now, staff are able to communicate much more efficiently and effectively with applicants. Signal Vine’s mobile app, in particular, is a great resource for admissions counselors that travel frequently.
After a year of texting, what advice does Keystone College have for other institutions looking to implement texting?
Firstly, users should be committed to their inboxes. Texting students creates an expectation for immediate gratification and quick response times, so it’s important to monitor the inbox and be ready to assist students when they need help. Secondly, make students feel important by keeping the conversation personalized. Use student data not only to personalize message content but also to determine recipients; this ensures that students are only receiving messages that are relevant to them. When Keystone counselors are traveling to various high schools, they will use students’ geographic information to message students in the surrounding area.
The Signal Vine platform has significantly increased our ability to reach students. We are a smaller school that reaches enrollment goals by connecting with students and building a relationship with them. We can’t do that if we can’t reach them. We now connect with more of our students and are able to better manage our application volume because of the ease and efficiency of this texting platform.
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