A six-hour flight delay on our way home from Minneapolis didn’t stop us from having a great time at the 103rd AACRAO Annual Meeting! We spent three days learning about the communications struggles and successes that registrars and admissions teams see every day.

In case you missed it, here are the top three things we learned at the conference.

1. We need to serve all students

“There needs to be an open channel of dialogue.” So began Tuesday’s plenary presentation, One Father’s Journey Raising a Transgender Child. Wayne and Nicole Maines shared their family’s story and spoke of the importance of being inclusive during the college search and enrollment process.

Admissions offices in particular can do a better job of communicating with students from different backgrounds. Students need to feel safe and respected when they ask questions about what campus life will be like for them, and staff can be more proactive about reaching out to students to offer support.

Signal Vine's takeaways from AACRAO 2017

2. One-way communication isn’t cutting it

Registrars are feeling frustrated with the limitations of their current communications systems. Nearly everyone we spoke with uses some type of CRM or SIS to send automated one-way reminders to students about upcoming deadlines. But they don’t feel like they’re doing enough to reach students.

Some universities are starting to audit their communications. They’re finding that they’re spending lots of money on paper mailings and not getting much back for the effort. Others find that they’re sending hundreds of emails to students every day, which explains why students are ignoring them.

3. Get “FERPA’d up”

We learned our new favorite phrase, “FERPA’d up,” from a registrar who stopped by our booth to learn more about text messaging.

Here’s how you use it in a sentence: “The text messaging platform is FERPA’d up,” meaning your student information is safe and secure when you use Signal Vine.

Student privacy and protection is particularly important for registrars, who manage all student records. Registrars at AACRAO were on the lookout for FERPA-compliant systems to make their jobs easier and their students more successful.

Learn how your peers are using texting in registrar and admissions offices.

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About the author: Haley is a Senior Business Development Associate at Signal Vine. Haley is a frequent conference goer! Follow her on LinkedIn