Success Story: Davidson County Community College Increases Student Engagement and Boosts Enrollment with Messaging
Colleges and universities are facing many obstacles when it comes to recruitment and enrollment. Rapid growth in free online-based learning courses along with shifts in communication preferences are contributing to these challenges. In this case study, learn how Davidson County Community College (DCCC) increased response rates from prospective students and boosted enrollment with TrueDialog.
About Davidson County Community College
Davidson County Community College provides innovative and equitable learning experiences to empower individuals, transform lives, and prepare students for enhanced career and educational opportunities within a changing global community. DCCC is a public community college with campuses in Davidson County and Davie County, North Carolina and awards certificates, diplomas, and associate degrees in more than 50 programs.
As a seasoned recruiter and admissions counselor at Davidson County Community College (DCCC), Paul Riley understands the importance of communication and relationship building when it comes to recruiting new students.
“As a recruiter, it’s becoming harder to reach potential students. My phone calls, voicemails and even emails are mostly getting ignored,” said Paul.
During one interaction with a prospective student, Paul asked if he received the emails that were sent to him. The student replied, “Sorry but I never check my emails and I have over a thousand unread emails in my inbox right now!”
While working with the head of admissions to develop a plan to increase enrollment at DCCC, Paul brought up the idea of utilizing text messaging as they were exploring different tools to help with better engagement.
Paul had previous experience using texting for school communication internally and decided to test it at DCCC to help improve communication with prospective students and build a better relationship with them early in the recruiting process.
After evaluating several text message solutions, Paul decided to partner with TrueDialog due to the company’s experience working with colleges and universities, enabling DCCC to scale. Paul was also pleased with the platform’s reliability and the ability to send mass notifications as well as engage in two-way dialog with students for Q&A. These were all important factors to Paul as he knew exactly what he needed and TrueDialog was a perfect match.
Soon after launching the texting program at DCCC, Paul encouraged students to give him permission to text them with additional information about DCCC’s programs by having them sign interest cards after giving presentations at high schools. Paul also saw an opportunity to promote texting through other channels including social media ads, billboards and their website.
The flexibility of TrueDialog’s solution enabled Paul to leverage texting in several ways. These include using short code numbers to quickly send out mass text messages about program information, financial aid information, campus events and more.
Two-way texting was enabled for students to ask questions about the school and available programs, schedule campus tours, as well as help prospective students get through the application process more quickly. Paul found that students were more responsive when texting from a local number.
Marketing messages were also sent to high school students (who opted in) informing them of DCCC’s Career & College Promise Program, where qualified high school students can take college level courses at DCCC free of charge while providing credits that can be transferred after graduation.
Overall, both mass texting and 2-way texting has helped Paul answer questions faster and help students get through hurdles in the admissions process by engaging over text messaging.
After using TrueDialog for only a few months, Paul has already seen a huge improvement in response rates from prospective students wanting to learn more about enrolling at DCCC.
Through texting with prospective students, Paul is seeing about a 50% response rate from text messages, a 20-fold increase from email response rates of about 1-2%.
“By making the experience quick and convenient with texting, we are seeing more engagement from students which is helping us build better relationships with them”. Paul explained. “Even with newly enrolled students, whenever they have a question, the first thing they do is text me.”
In addition to seeing great response rates, using TrueDialog has also improved Paul’s productivity when it comes to student communication. Instead of having to spend hours leaving voicemails and writing follow up emails, texting has reduced the need for those repetitive tasks as students are responding more quickly and more often to the first text messages thus eliminating the need for repeat communications. TrueDialog’s automation and personalization features are also helping Paul create personal connections with students at scale.
After seeing the positive impact texting has had on student communications, Paul plans to expand the usage of TrueDialog to other departments such as Financial Aid.
Students today have many options for college. Texting enables schools to better communicate and provide the necessary resources and assistance that students need to make a confident decision. Schools that develop a relationship with prospective students early in the process can get ahead of the competition and boost enrollment.