Case Study

Western University

How a university in Ontario, Canada leveraged the power of P2P texting to create authentic connections with prospective undergraduate students.


Home to more than 40,000 students, Western University takes pride in its strong sense of community and an institution-wide commitment to embracing challenge and student engagement.

In the spirit of delivering this sense of community to all who come in contact with the school, the recruitment team at Western set an ambitious goal: to personally reach out to every admitted student via text message.

The goal of the campaign was to connect every single student with a real person at Western and to match texters to recipients based on the potential for the most meaningful conversations.

Dayana Kibilds, Manager of Undergraduate Recruitment, Western University

Spring Conversion Campaign

Accomplishing this goal required a highly-detailed, sophisticated texting campaign. In the spring of 2020, the recruitment team put out a volunteer request for campus community members, with hopes of having a larger texting team capable of engaging 13,395 contactable prospective students. In the end, 460 faculty, alumni, and student volunteers signed up to text.

From there, the recruitment team developed a complex segmentation strategy that paired the prospective students with professors, students, and alumni who best matched their interests. These conversations were unscripted, personalized and meaningful, with wide-ranging discussions on academic programs, life on campus, questions about how COVID-19 might impact the fall semester, and more.

Key Outcomes

average response rate
opt out rate

One Statistic Stands Above All

Despite challenges presented by COVID-19, Western’s acceptance of admission rate rose 28% over the previous year. While there are many factors that led to increased confirmations and no direct causality can be determined, the team at Western postulates that this authentic and personal texting approach certainly had a positive influence on the students making their university decision.

[Texting has] opened a ton of doors for us to continue those meaningful connections all throughout the student onboarding and transitioning experience that we normally wouldn’t have had before.

Dayana Kibilds, Manager of Undergraduate Recruitment, Western University


The success of Western’s Spring Conversion campaign is a testament to both their exemplary planning, efforts to make the outreach as targeted as possible, and the university’s true sense of community.

As Dayana Kilbids, Manager of Undergraduate Recruitment, says, texting presents a unique opportunity to scale connections. She notes, “With texting, one single person can have hundreds of meaningful conversations with students, but if you’re trying to do that over the phone you might be able to do 10 conversations in the same amount of time. Having the texting platform has allowed us to use the same resources we would have had to connect with more people because you can have many more conversations simultaneously.”

Western’s text outreach was much appreciated — in a word-cloud created by Dayana after the campaign, the most-used word was “thank”, and one prospective student even gave Western a shoutout on Reddit after receiving a text. Texting not only gave prospective students the gift of a personal welcome, it also very clearly made them feel part of the strong Western community.

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