College and university texting (SMS) services are quickly becoming the gold standard of campus communications. While email is widely used to disseminate information and notices, it has been found that many college students rarely check their email these days and that the only reliable way to insure they get a message is by texting them. The vast majority of students have text capable mobile devices and cell phones and check their text messages dozens of times a day, almost instantly upon receipt.
Fortunately, colleges and universities do not have to invest in expensive hardware or equipment to implement a texting notification program. Fact is, the technological infrastructure is already in place and educational institutions can tap into it and begin their text programs immediately with very little or no ramp up time by outsourcing to a text service bureau. Because the text service is online, colleges only need to upload their list of opt-in phone numbers to begin texting messages at will.
Colleges are using texting for many applications and across divisions and departments. For example, SMS (short message services) texts are being used to:
— texting incoming students on application, registration and payment deadlines.
— recruiting students advising them of the latest college offerings
— alerting students about closing or delays because of weather conditions or power outages.
— instant updates on traffic and parking status for students and faculty and staff
— campus event notifications, club announcements, concert ticket sales
— notices about food service and daily menus
— campus emergency announcements and instructions
— text reminders about assignments, test dates and homework
Colleges are compiling mobile and cell phone databases by collecting cell numbers various ways, including capturing numbers via webpage sign ups, getting expressed permission on hard copy forms or sign up sheets, and/or promoting and advertising codes that the students or interested parties can text to a short code (a 5 or 6 digit number) which both automatically responds with a text message and enables them to double-opt-in to put their number on the list. Laws require that any contact you text must have opted-in to join your list. You cannot send out spam texts.
You can have any number of lists — from a general campus wide list with everyone’s number on it, or sub-lists for specific departments or divisions. For example, you may want a general list for a college wide message, a more specific list for athletics and an even more specific list for the baseball team.
Once you have your lists compiled (you’ll always be adding more numbers as you go along) you can upload them to the Internet and type your message online that will go out to one list, or all lists, whatever you prefer. Because your contacts will receive your messages quickly and conveniently, they can take whatever action is necessary to respond to your notification.
Overall, college texting services will be leading way in distributing important information to hundreds and thousands of students, faculty and staff who depend on getting timely updates that directly impact their work, studies and life.