Lessons learned while texting 30,000 students in 3 days

Posted by Priscilla Lee on January 26, 2017

Applying to college, and then deciding which college to attend, can be a tumultuous and stressful time for high school students. Research has proven that texting students throughout this process can increase student success, and is a relatively inexpensive and effective way for educational institutions to guide students along their journey. AdmitHub uses artificial intelligence to provide instant support to hundreds of thousands of students. Most recently, I was managing conversations by text messaging with 30,000 prospective students about their college plans. I learned a great deal while having back-and-forth conversations with so many students in such a short period of time, and wanted to share some of the lessons I learned.

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Topics: chatbot, messaging, texting, recruitment, artificial intelligence

Why higher education chatbots will take over university mobile apps

Posted by Kirk Daulerio on December 1, 2016

Quick poll: how many apps do you have on your phone? (I have 86...I just counted!)

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Topics: chatbot, colleges, facebook messenger, recruitment, artificial intelligence

16 statistics on why schools should be texting/messaging students

Posted by Brian Ruhlmann on October 29, 2016
I attended NACAC's annual conference in Columbus, Ohio last month to learn about strategies to help schools and professionals serve students as they are making choices around pursuing a postsecondary education. One of the hottest topics at the conference was texting students. The new PPY FAFSA and social media strategies were also at the forefront of discussion.
Research shows that texting students has a higher engagement rate than email and phone calls, and can improve matricualtion and retention rates, but the majority of colleges have yet to engage with students over SMS. 
Numbers don't lie, as my basketball coach would reply when I asked why I was riding the bench, so here are some numbers and statistics around texting and mobile messaging that are hard to ignore when thinking about texting or  messaging students throughout the student lifecycle.
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Topics: College Admissions, messaging, texting, student success, facebook messenger, recruitment, enrollment

Educating students about FAFSA changes can pay big dividends

Posted by Priscilla Lee on October 28, 2016

Two major changes for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) are affecting the 2017-18 school year application season.

  1. The FAFSA is available earlier, starting on Oct. 1 of the previous year instead of Jan. 1 of the upcoming school year.
  2. The FAFSA collects income information from an earlier tax year -- prior prior year (PPY).

These changes can help colleges better assist students in the financial aid process and potentially achieve higher matriculation in the fall. “Summer melt,” wherein college-intending students fail to matriculate in the fall, is a double loss, hurting both the students whose college dreams fall by the wayside, and the schools that were counting on them to attend. Often, cost is the culprit.

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Topics: College Admissions, colleges, messaging, texting, retention, student success, students, recruitment

Click-to-message: How schools can start conversations from Google AdWords

Posted by Brian Ruhlmann on October 28, 2016
Today, educational institutions are presented with endless solutions to solve the challenge of meeting students where they are. So how do you choose what's most effective? This blog post focuses on an opportunity to connect with students with online advertising via an interesting Google AdWords update.
In the  "2016 E-Recruiting Practices Report", Ruffalo Noel Levitz points out a recruitment opportunity gap in the online paid advertising space. The report shares that most colleges are only beginning to use online advertising. They also share that just over 50 percent of colleges are using social media paid advertising, and less than half of colleges are using online search advertising like Google AdWords. Ruffalo NL also points out that 47 percent of high school juniors and 39 percent of high school seniors have clicked on a paid ad when searching for colleges. 
That, in itself, is an area of opportunity, but first, what's the point of paid advertising? Generally, it is to select an ideal target group of prospects, encourage them to click on a link to your website, and then connect with the prospective students (or perhaps family members) to answer their questions and hopefully convince them to apply and eventually enroll at your institution. Interestingly, Google just released an AdWords update that eliminates the need for prospects to convert on a webform, and instead starts a messaging conversation immediately. This new feature is called " click-to-message."
Google, along with lots of other tech giants like Facebook and Amazon, are betting big on messaging. They want to provide a better customer service experience to users by giving them the option to message with companies and schools directly from their ads.  This shift is happening because people generally despise the long hold times they've endured waiting to talk to people on the phone. Studies show that most people prefer messaging and texting to every other method of communication
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Topics: messaging, facebook messenger, recruitment