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How to Engage College Students with Text Messages

by Haley Trost | July 14, 2015
How to Engage College Students with Text Messages

How to engage college students seems to be top of mind currently. Engaging these students can be very difficult when you are not reaching them in the right places. So why not reach them where they are? Their phone. Use the following four keys to write engaging text messages that will nudge students to take action on important tasks. It's a lot to fit into 160 characters, but we're to help if you need it!

How to Engage College Students

1. Use personalization.

Use students' names in your text messages, especially in the very first text you send. It immediately grabs their attention. They realize that it's a personal message that's important to read. You can also pull in personal information like an advisor's name, college name, or declared major. The more personalized the message, the higher the response rate will be.

2. Make it relevant.

Evidently, not every student needs every message. The most engaging text messages are those that are relevant to a student's specific needs. Students will start to tune out your messages (or worse, opt-out) if they don't care about the content. It might take you a couple extra minutes to filter your students, but it's worth it in the long run.

3. Emphasize timeliness.

Many messages remind students about upcoming deadlines. Furthermore, the timing of these messages is incredibly important. Send it too early, and students will think, "I'll do this later," and forget. Send it too late, and students will panic. Messages that require action should be sent out at the right time. Time it right to be engaging. For example, send reminders about events a day or two before.

4. Take action.

Engaging texts include “calls to action.” CTAs tell students what to do next. These could be links to online resources, instructions for filling out an application, or questions to answer.

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