5 Ways to Use Text Messaging in Adult Ed Programs

Sometimes as educators, we tend to communicate in the means with which we are most familiar, and not the way that is most familiar to the adult ed student.  For educators, email is our go-to mode of communication.  We are used to getting communication from administrators and communicating with each other via email.  It has become second nature to us.  For our students, especially the ones who need us most, it’s text messaging.  The open rates for an email is only around 40%, whereas the open rates for texting is 93%.  That data alone tells us there are many students we are missing by not communicating via text.

By text messaging, you can save the staff the hours of time that playing phone tag takes, making your staff able to spend more meaningful time with students in the long run.  “But we need to see them face to face to really get to know them and engage with them and truly get them plugged in enough to stay motivated,” is the most popular response you might here as a con to text messaging.  That’s a great point, and very true.  But without text messaging, they might never take that first step to come in.  With all the media bombarding students today, it’s easy for us to go to the bottom of the stack when email is the mode of communication.  There’s no better way to stay top of our students’ minds than sending a message straight to their phones, right in their hands.  In this way, we have the opportunity to always be with them and accessible to them, no matter where they are!

Below are our top 5 ways to use text messaging in adult ed programs.  SPOILER ALERT:  There are so many more ways that texting can be used beyond just sending a message for a general announcement!  Check them out below…


Communicate program-wide announcements in a timely manner. Closings for breaks or weather or other program-wide reminders are best sent via text message.  (All right, all right.  You probably already knew that!  But read on to learn more…)


Most of us are mandated to collect follow-up data for our students as part of our performance metrics.  By sending the follow-up questions in text messages, students are much more likely to respond, capturing critical programming data that could work to your advantage, and those responses might never have been captured otherwise.  (Bonus…With a Connectable follow-up portal, you have the ability to organize that data quickly and easily by downloading a spreadsheet from the portal and having all of your follow-up data sorted and organized!)


Most of us are accustomed to receiving confirmations for doctor appointments, school events for our kids, banking actions, and other events by replying YES or NO to a text message.  By using that same concept to track your registration confirmations, you not only save tons of time, but you also are helping  students with the digital literacy skills that they will need in those other areas of their lives as well!  Students generally show up more consistently with confirmations, not only because they are reminded and can refer back to the text, but also because they are also reminded that they told us they would be there.  Even better is the fact that your registrations will be full of students you know are coming and you can prepare for them, rather than prepare for students who may not show.  The No confirmations give you the opportunity to circle back when you need more students as well as save the time of preparing for someone who isn’t coming.


There is no better way to find out what your students REALLY think than a text survey, because students can give their true opinion without having to say it out loud or worry about what people might think if they said it in person.  Again, because students always have their phones with them, the likelihood of a response is much higher.  It’s easier for students, in their eyes, to answer a few clicks on their phones than to answer the phone, call back, or sit at a computer, open email, and type responses.  More students will actually see your survey, and when more students see a survey, the more students know that their opinions are valued.


Some of our best marketing comes from students already in our program.  Chances are that students know other people in the community who need your program.  Without an easy way for them to give you their contact information to reach out, this can be a long, tedious process that may not actually result in the referred student actually finding you.  By texting a mobile-friendly referral link instead, that can be easily be forwarded to the referred student, and they are just a few clicks away from our being able to reach back out to that referred student use our educator super powers of making sure students will come to class!  Many say that forwarding a link from their phones might be too advanced of a skill for students.  But I would ask the question, especially of our young adults, if they have ever shared a YouTube or TikTok video with a friend?  If so, they already have been sharing links for quite some time and may not even know it!

We have all made the reference at some point that we need to meet the students where they are so that they can grow from there.  By incorporating text messaging, you are ensuring that you are, quite literally, meeting students where they are and communicating in the means that most of our students use.  We all need to reach more students, and this is one great way to widen your student reach.

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