Top 10 Higher Education Texting Platforms To Use With Bitly

Between emails, the news, and managing life’s constant changes, everyone involved in an educational institution can stay up to date with the latest developments and changes to school procedures and curricula through SMS links

With the rise of remote learning and virtual classrooms, solutions like QR Codes for teachers and texting platforms have become essential tools for educational institutions to effectively communicate with students, faculty, and staff.

Online learning requires swift action that gives new value to SMS links because institutions can distribute them to teachers, students, parents, and school officials quickly and easily. While it’ll be years before we ever know the full scale of how SMS links are used for remote learning, here are a few ways they have changed the educational system so far.

The role of texting platforms in higher education

A depiction of a cartoon school or university

Colleges and universities have long relied on emails, bulletin boards, and face-to-face meetings to disseminate information. The digital age has ushered in a new era where immediacy and convenience are crucial.

One of the most compelling benefits of utilizing texting platforms is their ability to reach students directly and instantaneously. Unlike emails, which can languish unopened in an inbox:

  • Recipients tend to read text messages within three minutes of receiving them. They have a 98% open rate compared to email’s 22%. This ensures that schools can convey vital information, from schedule changes to emergency alerts, effectively and promptly.

  • Texting platforms facilitate a two-way communication pathway—students can ask questions and receive answers in real time, which fosters a more interactive and engaged learning environment. 

Here are a few of the benefits of using SMS links whether you’re a student, administrator, teacher, or parent:

  • Keeps students engaged and learning at home regardless of any community or global crises.

  • Homework is accessible and readily available via an SMS link that students can easily click on.

  • Parents can have visibility into their children’s learning experience by accessing their lectures, homework, and assignments with SMS links.

  • SMS links can drive clicks toward important mobile-ready downloads like audio, video, and images that are accessible from anywhere.

  • SMS alerts can notify students about educational goals like grades, report cards, or missed projects.
A depiction of a student teacher receiving a text message with an SMS link from an elementary school that tells them their students grades are ready to review

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Examples of how to use SMS in higher ed settings

A depiction of a student in a higher education setting

The move to online learning could become a pivotal catalyst for our education system in the future, and understanding how to use SMS links is important. SMS is a low-cost and affordable way to give people of all classes, cultures, and backgrounds the opportunity to learn, and it’s fantastic to see what a little link can do for remote learning. Check out a few examples of how higher education institutions have used SMS links.

  • Use a dedicated SMS link to enable discussions during pertinent lectures while distance learning.

  • Enrollment can be hectic during the mid-semester season. Remind your students to start choosing their classes and get enrolled before they miss the deadline.

  • Teachers can enhance the classroom experience by sending anonymous surveys to rate their classroom performance and curriculum with a short SMS text.

  • Collegiate bookstores can send SMS links to students during restocks of popular classroom textbooks that are available for purchase.

  • Professors can provide students with eco-friendly options to access their e-books via SMS links from trusted retailers.
A depiction of someone receiving a text message with a SMS link from their university to let them know their textbook is in stock at the bookstore

10 higher education texting platforms to consider

If you’re looking to integrate texting platforms into your higher education institution, the platform you choose must meet certain criteria. It should be user-friendly for students and faculty, comply with relevant educational standards for data privacy and security, and seamlessly integrate with your existing communication systems. 

Not sure where to start? Here are 10 higher education texting platforms to consider:

1. TrueDialog

TrueDialog is a leading texting platform designed specifically for higher education communication. It specializes in enabling direct, two-way SMS conversations between students, faculty, and staff. 

Unlike more basic texting services, TrueDialog offers a fully integrated, enterprise-grade solution that supports mass notifications and personalized, one-on-one dialogues without losing the personal touch often missing in institutional communication.

Best use: Personalized messaging

Key features:

  • Team-to-1 texting and 1-to-millions mass texting solutions

  • Multi-channel messaging (SMS, voice, and email)

  • SMS scheduling system

  • Pre-built opt-in, opt-out, and subscription management

  • Multi-channel alerts

  • Integration with various student information systems (SIS) and CRM platforms such as HubSpot, Salesforce, and Velocify

2. ThruText

ThruText is a peer-to-peer (P2P) texting platform that enables higher education institutions to engage with students through personalized text conversations. It utilizes a centralized, trackable system that allows users to upload a list of contacts and send mass texts simultaneously.

Best use: Targeted outreach for recruitment and admissions

Key features:

  • Lightning-fast admin tools that allow users to send over 200 messages per minute

  • Robust analytics to track text status, responses, and student engagement rates

  • Customizable data collection and advanced targeting options

  • Unparalleled uptime with a friendly support team that is available seven days a week

3. Simple Texting

Simple Texting is an all-in-one, mass texting solution that offers a quick, easy, and cost-effective way to reach students, faculty, and staff in higher education settings. Users can track sent messages in real time and easily segment their audience for targeted communication. Whether it’s routine updates, reminders, or emergency alerts, Simple Texting has a simple and intuitive interface for all your texting needs.

Best use: Routine communication and emergency alerts

Key features:

  • Two-way text messaging

  • Autoresponders

  • Self-cleaning lists

  • AI-assist

  • Text scheduling

  • Intuitive dashboard for tracking and analytics

4. SMS Magic

If you’re looking for a CRM-based texting solution that can handle large volumes of text messages, you’ll appreciate SMS Magic. The platform has a conversational-style interface that integrates seamlessly with Salesforce, Zoho, and other CRM tools. You can personalize your texts for each student, attach images and documents, and send texts in bulk or individually.

Best use: Recruitment, admissions, and alumni communication

Key features:

  • Delivery alerts and dashboards

  • Merge fields to avoid spam blockers

  • Robust analytics and tracking features

  • Text scheduling and automation

5. Mainstay (formerly AdmitHub)

Mainstay is an AI-powered texting platform designed to boost student enrollment, retention, and well-being. The platform specializes in personalized, one-on-one conversations with students through an AI chatbot that responds to inquiries and sends text reminders and alerts for tasks such as financial aid deadlines, campus events, and academic advising appointments.

Best use: Recruitment, enrollment, and student support

Key features:

  • Inclusive, student-first language

  • 24/7 personalized support for every learner

  • Live chat handoff to staff for complex inquiries

  • Data-driven insights and analytics into student experiences

  • Seamless integration with CRM platforms

6. EZ Texting

EZ Texting is a premier texting solution that enables colleges and universities to build communication quickly with students, attract new applicants, and engage alumni. It automatically adds contact names and phone numbers/email addresses to the database, where you can segment students for targeted messaging. You can send 1-to-1 texts or group messages with images, flyers, links, and attachments to close the digital gap with students.

Best use: Enrollment outreach, student engagement, and alumni relations

Key features:

  • Text scheduling

  • Groups and segmentation

  • Text forwarding

  • AI compose

  • SafeSTOP opt-out

  • Analytics and reporting

7. Textedly

Allowing for text messages with a 300-character limit, Textedly provides a cost-effective and reliable solution for educational institutions to disseminate information. It offers capabilities to automate, segment, and track texts to ensure efficient and targeted communication with students, faculty, and staff. 

Best use: Everyday communication and targeted outreach

Key features:

  • Activity dashboard

  • Text scheduling and automation

  • Two-way messaging for engagement and feedback

  • Contact management and segmentation

  • Customizable keywords and autoresponders

  • Customizable templates

8. Mongoose 

As higher education’s premier engagement platform, Mongoose is intuitively designed to create and encourage meaningful communication with students, alumni, and donors. 

The platform features easy-to-use two-way messaging with contact segmentation, powerful automation, and campaign tracking to improve communication and engagement rates. 

Best use: Student engagement and support

Key features:

  • Automated contact capture

  • Interactive info boards

  • Conversation history

  • Department routing

  • Personalized branding

  • Segmentation and audience targeting

9. Modern Campus (formerly Signal Vine)

Modern Campus helps colleges and universities achieve their enrollment goals by sending prospective students personalized texts at an appropriate frequency. When integrated with existing CRM or SIS platforms, Modern Campus leverages profile data and interests to personalize each text message, resulting in higher response rates and engagement. Its automated response sorting feature filters messages that warrant staff response to ensure students receive personalized attention when they need it.

Best use: Prospective student recruitment and engagement with current students

Key features:

  • Multimedia messaging (images, videos, links, and GIFs)

  • Response sorting for staff attention

  • Virtual Advisor to answer frequently asked questions

  • Contact management and segmentation

  • Reporting and analytics (track student engagement, response rate, and overall effectiveness of campaigns)

  • Automated drip campaigns

10. Trumpia

With its pre-designed messaging templates, smart targeting, data integration, and API access, Trumpia streamlines communication across departments and with students. The texting software is fully automated and handles various chores like attracting more applicants, reminding current students of class registration deadlines, and campus life updates.

Best use: Student recruitment

Key features:

  • Complete lifecycle automation

  • Multi-channel communication

  • Landline texting

  • Smart targeting and segmentation

  • Powerful integration with Google Calendars, CRM, and SIS platforms

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How Bitly can play a role in campus communications and digital learning

There’s no question that texting platforms have revolutionized communication in higher education. They:

  • Enhance direct and instant communication with students, faculty, and alumni, facilitating a more connected community.

  • Allow for personalized and segmented messaging, ensuring the right information reaches the right audience at the right time.

  • Provide a cost-effective way to engage large groups without sacrificing the personal touch needed for effective communication.

  • Offer analytics and insights, enabling institutions to measure engagement and tailor their communication strategies for maximum impact.

One thing to keep in mind when deciding to implement SMS communications for your higher education institution is that they’re mobile-optimized with concise messaging—160 characters or less. This can complicate matters a bit if your text needs to include links with long URLs, which could break one text message into a series of messages that could get lost or out of order.  

One of the hallmarks of effective SMS links is that they’re bite-sized and customizable to make the digital experience simple and effective for your students. With Bitly’s URL shortener for SMS, it’s quick and efficient to create these short URLs at scale.

Bitly users can generate branded links, like many small businesses, creators, and enterprise organizations all around the world. While schools may not need to grow their brand awareness, they do need to have safe and reliable links that parents and students can trust on their mobile devices.

In addition to mobile optimization, short links can inspire action that enables students to click on the right modules, lessons, and announcements with customized messaging that tells them where the link is pointing. Instead of seeing a link that may appear suspicious, they can click and know they’re going to a trusted site where they’ll get reputable information to enhance classroom learning.

Maximize the use of higher education text messaging with Bitly Analytics

The personalized and segmented nature of SMS platforms allows for targeted messaging and cost-effective engagement with large groups without sacrificing personalization. 

Using Bitly Analytics, institutions can measure engagement and click-through rates on their shortened links, allowing them to tailor their messaging and content for maximum impact. Additionally, Bitly’s branded links provide a sense of trust and credibility for students and parents when receiving links via text message. 

Find your perfect Bitly plan and get ready to start enhancing your digital learning experience with SMS links.