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The One Thing You Need to Level Up Student Communications in 2024

In 2024, having the right student communications channels is only half the battle. The key ingredient to success this year is...
level up student communications in 2024

What’s on your college or university’s list of goals for 2024? Perhaps you want to increase your admission and retention numbers, create additional financial aid resources, or boost attendance for student events. Regardless of your specific goals, we bet they have one thing in common: the need to communicate with students. Let us explain:

  • To increase applications, your institution needs to proactively communicate with prospective students to help them complete their application by the deadline
  • To boost student retention, your students need to know about any barriers to re-enrollment, like tuition balances and more
  • For financial aid resources to be successful, students need to be made aware that they exist and how to access them
  • For student events to be more widely attended, students need to learn about events ahead of time and receive invitations via the channels they check most frequently

So as you can see, none of these goals are possible without proactive communication. 

No doubt you have an existing student communication strategy, but let us ask you: are your student communications just meeting expectations? Or are your student communications actively improving the student experience and setting students up for success?

Meeting Student Expectations

In the past few years, the conversation around student communication has largely centered around digital transformation. The COVID-19 pandemic forced colleges and universities to operate remotely via digital channels. Lectures shifted from in-person to Zoom and resources like IT help desks, financial aid advisors, student services, and other departments had to find digital solutions as well. 

Enter channels like chatbot, two-way texting, and live chat, which were adopted widely by institutions of higher education as a way to support students when in-person options were unavailable. These channels didn’t disappear with the pandemic, however. Instead, they have become a central part of college and university communication strategies, and for good reason. 

The fact is that today’s students largely prefer digital channels (consider this Salesforce research that reports 75% of students indicated that they wanted institutions to communicate with them through their preferred channels, like websites, mobile apps, or social media). Why?

  • Channels like chatbot, two-way texting, and live chat are always available
  • Digital channels meet students where they are: on their phones and computers
  • These channels get students the answers they need instantly

On top of student’s preferring digital communication channels, these methods are also effective! Check out the following statistics:

And the list goes on! (You can check out other success stories on our customer stories page). 

We could go on endlessly about how you can meet your students where they are with digital communication channels, but you’re here to learn about the one thing you need to do to level up in 2024, right? Without further ado, let’s get into it!

Exceeding Student Expectations

We mentioned that channels like chatbot, two-way texting, and live chat have been widely adopted in the past few years. And that means one thing for those institutions looking to level up their student communications:

Simply having digital channels is mere table stakes. 

Having chatbot, texting, and live chat capabilities in our digital world isn’t a differentiator to today’s tech-savvy students — it’s a barrier to entry when they consider which college or university is right for them. 

Don’t get us wrong, these channels are vital parts of a higher education student communication strategy. They just aren’t going to set you apart in any way. What will?

The next generation of student communications that will boost engagement and success are personalized student communications.

Imagine arming your digital communications via chatbot, text, and live chat with personalized student information, made possible by integrations with existing systems like your CRM or Student Information System. This not only means that you’re getting the right information to your students — it means that you’re getting them actionable information that is relevant to their individual student journey. 

Let’s look at personalization from another perspective. Which of the following text messages is more engaging? Which would you be more likely to take action on?

Option 1: Reaching out to remind you that you haven’t completed your admissions application. The deadline to apply to be considered for financial assistance is April 15th.

Option 2: Hi [Name], Did you know we need your official high school transcript to complete your admissions application? The deadline to apply and be considered for financial assistance for Fall 2024 is April 15th. Reply to this message if you have any questions! -Cassie, your admissions counselor

If you answered “Option 2”, we wholeheartedly agree! Personalization makes a world of difference to student communications. Check out the success story below!

A Personalization Success Story: Colorado State University Global

CSU Global leverages Ocelot’s AI-powered Communication Platform (specifically its Two-Way Texting and Chatbot solutions) to automate CSU Global’s student engagement strategy. Ocelot also seamlessly integrates with other campus systems including Salesforce and Zoom to streamline and personalize the student experience. 

Text message campaigns and student interactions are fueled by the SIS data sitting in Salesforce, ensuring answers were tailored to the specific students engaging. Prospective student lead data generated from chat and text interactions is also funneled straight into Salesforce for the admissions office. The result?

  • 45,000 questions answered in one year
  • 2,200+ staff hours saved
  • 50% engagement rate

Click the link to read the rest of CSU Global’s success story!

Taking the Next Step to Personalized Student Communications

Ready to level up your student communications with personalization in 2024? We’d love to help! You can check out our Integrations page to learn how Ocelot’s AI-powered student communication channels integrate with systems you use everyday at your institution! 

Have more questions? Our team would be happy to answer them and learn about your unique student communication needs. Reach out to us here!


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