We’re now 12 days into the new year, which means second semester is ramping up at colleges and universities across the country. The beginning of a new semester is a vital time to keep communication flowing between staff and students. Building a trusting relationship in the beginning of the semester keeps momentum going throughout the whole semester. With all of the craziness that comes with new classes – not to mention everything happening in the news these days – your students likely have questions for you. Reach out to them first by texting students about these key topics this semester:
IF YOU WORK IN ADMISSIONS
Regular decision application deadlines are right now, and students are feeling a combination of relief about finally submitting their applications and anxiety about what comes next. Send applicants a text to let them know that you’ve received their application. Tell students what and when the next step is, and keep the lines of communication open.
You might’ve already accepted some applicants from Early Decision or Early Action rounds. That’s fantastic! Start texting these students about other upcoming deadlines, like those for paying their enrollment deposit and applying for housing. If you’ve waitlisted applicants, you can answer any questions they have about the waitlist (and they will definitely have questions!) via text.
IF YOU WORK IN FINANCIAL AID
The FAFSA may open a few months earlier now than it used to, but that doesn’t mean your students have started (or submitted) it yet. Now is a good time to start texting students with tips for completing the notoriously tricky application. Students aren’t totally busy with classwork yet, so your timely texts will encourage them to take action on the FAFSA sooner than they otherwise might.
IF YOU WORK IN STUDENT AFFAIRS OR ADVISING
There’s a lot happening in the news right now. Use this semester to check in with your students on relevant issues – like sexual harassment – that can be uncomfortable to talk about in person. Texting is a more secure and comfortable way for students to speak about personal issues. If your school has activist clubs or events on campus, now is a good time to let students know about these opportunities in case they want to get involved.
On a lighter note, the beginning of this semester is a good time to text students about housing and registration deadlines for next fall. It’s also a good time to check in with your students about their current housing and class situations. You want students to feel comfortable on campus and connected to the resources they need to be successful.
IF YOU WORK IN ANOTHER DEPARTMENT
No matter what department you’re in, you should always be in touch with your students – even if it’s just to say hello or wish them a happy new year. Now is a good time to send a friendly check-in text to students you work with to see how they’re feeling about the start of a new semester. A quick message that says “Happy New Year, Student! How’s everything going with your classes so far?” can mean the world to students who are looking for a connection during this busy time.
Want more insight into what (and what not) to text students?