GREEN BAY — The second University of Wisconsin-Green Bay acceptance announcement a Milton High School senior received included animated confetti and was delivered via Snapchat.
Lindsay Fanning applied to UWGB in fall 2016 because she liked the university's social work program, the location of the campus and wanted to join the pep band.
A question on the school's application asked Fanning if she wanted to receive an acceptance notification via Snapchat. All she had to do was provide the university with her Snapchat handle.
Then came the animated confetti and the acceptance message, which Fanning said "was really cool." USA Today Network-Wisconsin (http://gbpg.net/2u6BjGE ) reported.
"I just typed something to say 'thank you' and I was excited to attend in the fall," Fanning said of her response.
Admittedly, she thought the paper acceptance letter she received a few days earlier was more exciting. She took a screenshot of the Snapchat and also posted a photo of the acceptance letter on her Instagram account.
In September, UWGB began giving potential students the option of receiving notice of acceptance via Snapchat. Everyone is still receiving the traditional acceptance email and paper packet.
Jena Richter Landers, social media specialist for the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Marketing and University Communications Department, heard about the idea and thought it was something the university should try.
"We weren't the first to do it," Richter Landers said.
The department's interns play a big role in keeping the project going.
The interns handle creating and sending the congratulatory "snaps" to those who are being offered admission, Richter Landers said.
"It's pretty resource heavy," she said.
Admissions recruitment intern and UW-Green Bay senior Danielle LaPorte has been creating the celebratory messages since January.
LaPorte generates the snaps using the campus as her backdrop and adds the text in the app.
She always tries to include UW-Green Bay's Phoenix mascot.
"When I'm putting one together, I just want to make sure that it's pleasant and fun," she said.
The messages range from "Welcome to the Phoenix family" to "We can't wait to see you in fall," Richter Landers said.
UW-Green Bay chose Snapchat as its go-to social media platform for outreach because of its popularity among teens and millennials.
"We always want to reach our students wherever they are. We think that is one of the most important things," said Katelyn Santy, student recruitment and enrollment coordinator for the Office of Admissions.
"We are so proud of our admitted students, and we want to celebrate with them," Santy said. "The snap notifications are another way to do that."
Students will sometimes send selfies about how excited they are to attend UW-Green Bay or follow-up questions, Richter Landers said.
The university's other uses for Snapchat include hosting question and answer sessions and a virtual campus tour.
For the tour, LaPorte was joined on July 5 by Richter Landers, Santy and several student ambassadors for the roughly two hours of shooting.
"We had to take a couple of retakes, so it was at least 50-plus (snaps)" that were posted, LaPorte said.
The entire series, which was posted to the university's Snapchat "story," was about 3 minutes long.
"We kind of had a collaboration meeting about what we wanted to include and what we wanted to leave out," she said of preparation for the tour.
Santy explained that the university has done Snapchat tours in the past of school labs.
This particular digital tour received 1,200 views with 1,068 finishing the entire story, she said.
People cannot always visit the campus, and this was a chance for those interested in attending UW-Green Bay to get a "sneak peek."
Potential students used to look at costly printed materials while researching schools, said Judy Phair, president of PhairAdvantage Communications LLC and senior adviser of communications for the Council of Independent Colleges.
"Now students don't start looking at those type of materials until they have a university in their sights," Phair said.
Using popular social media platforms, like Snapchat, for outreach purposes is a way to reach a broader audience that includes students and their families.
"I'm seeing more and more admissions offices, people in universities, public relations as well . looking for ways to use Snapchat because it is so popular," Phair said.
According to Phair, public and private universities are watching how students respond to UWGB's Snapchat acceptance announcements.
"If there seems to be success coming out of this, you'll see it adopted in varying ways" by universities, she said.