Have you been getting a whole lot of texts lately from your college or the schools you’re considering applying to?

You’re not alone — and that’s potentially a good thing. Once you provide your information and opt-in, these texts can be a valuable resource for keeping you informed and on track.

If you’ve started exploring scholarship opportunities, visited multiple colleges, or researched where to get the best deal on textbooks, your e-mail inbox is likely already stuffed with announcements and important info. Even for the most meticulous students, key details can sometimes slip through the cracks. Texts, however, are a more low-key way for a school to share information with you through a medium you’re likely to see. In a survey conducted this year by Ruffalo Noel-Levitz, nearly two-thirds of students agreed that texts are a helpful way to receive important information from their school.

Often, this correspondence begins before a student has been admitted. “I prefer to use text for short conversations, like if I need to let a student know they’re missing an application document or to arrange an off-campus interview,” says Marcus Johnson, assistant director of admissions at Kalamazoo College. While some colleges and universities use mass texts to disseminate critical reminders to everyone on the school’s applicant or enrollment list, for Johnson, text communication is more customized. “It’s the result of a counselor sitting in his or her office and scrolling through a list of queried students,” he says.

Ensuring that information reaches every student or prospective student when it needs to can be the difference between a student attending a particular college or ending up somewhere else.

Texting becomes especially useful when Johnson and his colleagues need to communicate something time-sensitive. “In my experience, students check text messages immediately,” he says, an effect of students spending an average of 84 to 105 minutes texting each day. Beyond convenience, ensuring that information reaches every student or prospective student when it needs to has a far-reaching impact — it can, for example, be the difference between a student attending a particular college or ending up somewhere else.

Although texting can be helpful, it certainly isn’t appropriate for every situation. And while a majority of students may prefer to communicate by text, that doesn’t mean it’s welcome across the board by administrators. Johnson mentions text communication can begin to get tricky “when [applicants] ask a question that needs a much longer, more nuanced answer,” such as a query about which test scores it makes most sense to submit. “These kinds of conversations are best managed via e-mail for two reasons. First, many colleges want to keep track of student interactions with admission representatives. Second, what a student might presume is a simple yes or no question may actually require more research or follow-up,” he says. In those instances, you should feel free to switch over to e-mail.

If texts from your college or prospective colleges are already rolling in this year, take it as a sign that the school wants to make sure you’re prepared with key information, whether it’s being delivered to your inbox or straight to your phone.