Over the next couple weeks tens of millions of students will be flooding colleges around the country. A record number of students, 21.6 million, attended college in the Fall of 2012 [1] and this year is poised for even more growth. But a recently released study found that only half of all first time college students are graduating by their sixth year [2].

While some may be going all Van Wilder on their college experience, others take it seriously (as they should) and still may not be able to finish because of outside factors. Sometimes these factors may be out of their control, but other times it could be the lack of knowledge of their options which might keep them from continuing on their educational path.

So we put together a list of ways which five offices in colleges and universities can take advantage of automated calling and text messaging to make sure their students can get all the information they need. Here they are...

  1. Admissions Offices
    • New Student Orientation Information — Incoming freshman or transfer students are about to have a new experience. I'm sure many colleges will agree that their orientation visit is important to their success their first year on campus. Give them a call and remind them about the upcoming dates that are available for them to attend. Also, keep track of those that did not attend and send them a call about what they might have missed and where they can get the information. Want to learn about how the University of Louisville kept in touch with prospective and incoming students? Click here.
    • Welcome Week Information — Ask any college alumni and they will agree...being a college student means that you have all the answers. Meanwhile, their parents are worried sick about their babies being away from home for the first time. This is a great time to call your new incoming students and let them know what to expect from the first week. This way when they act like they know what they are doing when the show up on campus the first day...they actually do.
    • Acceptance Calls — Getting that acceptance letter in the mail is a thrilling time in every college students life. But what if you could take it to the next level? How about if the head football coach was able to call those students? Have a famous alumni who is willing to do it? Even better? Take the excitement of the college acceptance letter to the next level.
  2. Financial Aid Office
    • FAFSFA Reminders — The reality is that many need help paying for their college education. Be sure to let your students know when this important deadline is coming up. Not completing the FAFSFA application could be the difference between a student continuing their college career at your college or university, or them having to make a difficult choice to transfer or even stop attending all together.
    • Scholarship Application Deadlines — Thankfully there are some really good opportunities to receive scholarships but every college and university's process to apply can be different and sometimes student can just lose track of time. Make sure that your students know when the deadline is quickly approaching and better yet, let them know just a couple days away too just in case procrastination sets in.
  3. Residence Life
    • Move In Day Information — If your university is like many others, you require incoming freshmen to live on campus. Convey to them how moving day will work and remind them of some of the essential items to bring with them for their dorm room. Offer some tips for packing and even some tips for storage in their room. Remind them not everything has to be made of cinder blocks either.
    • Resident Assistant Introduction — RA...needed when a student has a bad night off campus, but loathed when they tell you to turn the music down. Using a fast and easy automated call can be a nice way to break the ice and do a quick intro before the door-to-door welcomes.
  4. Student Business Services
    • Tuition Payment Reminders — It isn't always the student paying their tuition, sometimes it is parents or other family members, but it is their responsibility to make sure it gets paid on time. Especially for new students who might not keep up with deadlines and how tuition payment works. These kind of reminder calls can have a big impact on reducing the amount of cancellations for semester. Want to learn how Texas Tech University was able to reduce their Summer semester cancellations? Click Here.
    • Cancellation Notification — Some students' enrollments are going to have to be cancelled for non-payment unfortunately. Even after repeated efforts to collect tuition it is still important to let them know of the cancellation and make sure they can still stay in good status with the university by withdrawing or making other arrangements.
  5. Student Life
    • On Campus Event Information — Your university offers great events, many of which are free to students. A great way to remind your students about the events is to send them a text message. Create a keyword for your students to join so they can hear about upcoming programs and events. A last minute text about tonight's program could wake them from their post class nap and get them to plan their night. Nothing is worse than having a great program with a less than stellar student turnout.
    • Greek Life — Greek life organizations keep your students busy throughout the semester with weekly meetings or socials. It is important to send reminders throughout the week about upcoming meetings, parent / alumni weekends, philanthropy fundraisers, as well as emergency notifications to house girls /house boys.
    • Student Organizations — Attending college offers each student a wealth of opportunity to get involved with the university and with their fellow students. Many of these organizations have the need to communicate with their members about meeting reminders, changes to meeting times and updates about organization events.


[1] - http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=372
[2] - http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/02/26/only-half-of-first-time-college-students-graduate-in-6-years/?_r=0