Five innovative college acceptance notifications

Posted by Brian Ruhlmann on January 17, 2017
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It’s the most wonderful time of the year...in college admissions! Many colleges are sending their acceptances to students across the globe. The tried and true “fat admit packet” is still a mainstay among many colleges. Mail bins are packed, admissions teams are driving acceptance letters to their local post offices, and some are even hand-delivering letters to students at their schools or homes.

Check out this happy admissions team from Saint Anselm College! VP of Enrollment and Dean of Admission Eric Nichols and his staff snapped this selfie as they piled into a campus shuttle for their annual pilgrimage to the mail room.

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We wanted to take a moment to highlight some of the most innovative ways students are being notified of their acceptances. (props to the AdmitHub Forum Contributors, who rallied to provide their favorites): 

1. Hand delivered acceptance letters

No need for technology for this acceptance notification. The good folks at Wheaton College (MA) take to the streets to surprise students with hand-delivered acceptance letters, the Boston Globe reported. Last year 75 accepted students in the New England area were delivered their letters by representatives of Wheaton College, including their President Dennis M. Hanno and their mascot Lyon.

wheaton-college.jpg                                                                              Source: Boston Globe, courtesy Wheaton College

While the actual delivering of the acceptance letters did not use any technology, social media channels like Twitter, Facebook, and Snapchat amplified the reach of this campaign.

USC Director of Undergraduate Admissions Kirk Brennan has been hand-delivering acceptance letters since 2012. In this New York Post article, Brennan says, “They are the most popular thing they do in our social media effort.”

2. Video

With Facebook Live coming out in 2016 and video content representing 74% of all internet traffic, 2017 is the year of video content. One college that has been ahead of the curve with video content has been Eckerd College.

Eckerd College sends each accepted student a personalized video. Jake Brown, Director of Admissions, sent me this personalized video, which went out to accepted students for the class of 2020. 

Link to personalized Eckerd College video

3. Snapchat

It’s hard to believe that Snapchat is only 5 years old, but this social media baby now has more users than Twitter, and has over 160 million users. Many colleges use Snapchat stories to promote big games or give students a feel for the campus, but the University of Wisconsin- Green Bay sent accepted students snaps notifying them of their acceptance.

This creative application of Snapchat was spread far and wide over the internet and other social channels. It was also covered by Buzzfeed.

4. Twitter

Twitter limits the number of characters in each tweet to 140 characters, which forces people to make short, expressive statements. This makes Twitter a great channel for accepted students to express their excitement. When students tweet about their acceptance to Stevens Institute of Technology, Brian Switay, their Assistant Director of Recruitment, uses this as an opportunity to connect with those students on Twitter.

Brian takes the time to connect personally with each student. He looks up when Stevens Institute of Technology has been mentioned on Twitter, learns more about their interests, and then replies to their acceptance tweet with a GIF to celebrate with something of particular interest to them. Brian says, “I think it connects with students and really makes them feel like we are listening to them. It also sets the tone for the personal attention they will receive here at Stevens.”

5. Text Message

Text messaging is emerging as a popular communication channel for colleges to engage prospective and current students. Text messages have a reply rate of 45% on average, compared to email at 6%, so it’s no mystery why colleges are turning towards this channel.

Many schools have been using text messages to remind students of important deadlines, but Georgia State University sends accepted students a video gif letting them know they’ve been accepted, and ties it back to their social campaign using the hashtag #GSUncommon.


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These are just some of our favorite innovative college acceptance notifications. We believe that all these campaigns do a create job of standing out and portraying the values of individual institutions to their prospective students. If you’ve heard of any other creative college acceptance notifications that you think should make the list, drop me a line.

 

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Topics: messaging, texting, social media, video