Recruitment and Retention | News

Westminster College Bolsters Recruitment with 2-way SMS Tool

Westminster College has introduced a new two-way SMS tool into its recruitment process. The Salt Lake City, Utah private liberal arts college is now using Blackboard ConnectTxt to connect with prospective students. The two-way mass notification platform was recently introduced into the US.

Westminster tested ConnectTxt in a pilot program aimed at its outreach and recruitment process. Administrators from the school's admissions office used the system to send messages to prospective students that had not completed their applications and who were unresponsive to phone calls and e-mails, according to a statement released this week by Blackboard. The school heard back from more than 50 percent of the mass text message recipients.

Dana Simmons, director of e-marketing and outreach at Westminster College, was unsurprised by the response rate. "Communications have changed; while email, phone calls and direct mail are still viable tools, effectively connecting with students today means having a mobile conversation," said Simmons. "Incorporating Blackboard ConnectTxt into our recruitment strategy has proven that students are willing to respond if you connect with them in the right way."

ConnectTxt enables Westminster's administrators to personalize, schedule, and track outbound messages. The system's messaging engine uses keywords, shortcodes and standard codes, QR codes, and inbox filters and workflow rules to route inbound messages and replies.

Seventy-three percent of cell phone users are "active SMS users, and young adults between the ages of 18 and 24 send and receive an average of 3,200 text messages every month," according to a 2011 report from Pew Internet and American Life Project. These findings suggest that text messaging is the preferred communications channel for mobile phone users, particularly college-age adults.

Blackboard ConnectTxt is available immediately for US clients. More information is available by texting MOREINFO to 97178 or by visiting Blackboard's Web site.

About the Author

Kanoe Namahoe is online editor for 1105 Media's Education Group. She can be reached at knamahoe@1105media.com.

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