Timely, Relevant and Valuable: What To Know About Texting Students

The quote has been attributed to everyone from Voltaire to Spider-Man’s Uncle Ben: “With great power comes great responsibility.” That sentiment certainly applies to using new technologies — just because you have the power to do something doesn’t mean you always should.

In a company blog post, the technology firm Mongoose, which provides platforms for colleges and universities to send text messages to prospective students, outlined four things institutions should know about texting students and parents. While the post focuses mainly on privacy laws, it also includes some sound suggestions about using the power of texting responsibly.

Among the suggestions, just because you can text doesn’t mean you should.

“The read rate for texts is virtually 100 percent, but only because there’s almost no spam,” the blog says. “If you start sending students dozens of texts that students don’t want, they’ll ignore you — just like they ignore phone calls and email, which are filled with messages they don’t care about.”

Respect Personal Space

What do students want to be texted about? According to Mongoose, they prefer practical information like deadline reminders. When is their application due? When must they complete their FAFSA? When do they register for an open house? Or text them updates from counselors and advisers, like a student’s application status, answers to questions about specific programs or scholarships, times a counselor will be visiting their area.

What do students not want to be texted about? Promotions. Find another way to offer your 25 percent off coupon at the bookstore. Also, don’t bother them with the texts linking to social media posts or your website.

Yes, it is legal to text students. Yes, a growing number of colleges and universities have the capability to text prospects. But it’s important to keep in mind that a person’s phone is their personal space, the blog states.

“Every text you send needs to be timely, relevant and valuable to them.”

Remember, texting is the preferred means of communication for everybody these days … but especially Millennials and Gen Zers. The ability to spark meaningful conversations with prospective students via text is a powerful tool. Use it responsibly.

By Kevin Hyde, Senior Content Writer, Capture Higher Ed