It has become harder for colleges across the U.S. to ensure their recruitment goals are met following the pandemic, and so new ways to find recruitment and enrollment tactics are being leveraged.
Potential solutions for higher education enrollment must not only be considered but embraced as the new norm.
How can enrollment teams ensure numbers align with a university’s goals? And how can rethinking recruitment efforts drive enrollment?
Here are some ways to make a big impact on your enrollment numbers:
1. Start student recruitment earlier than ever before
Today’s Gen Z students have a multitude of ways to connect via technology. As an enrollment manager, leveraging these platforms with the right messages is the first step to connecting with prospective students and increasing engagement early on in their college search. Recruitment efforts no longer involve handing out brochures to high school students hoping they might call you someday.
Colleges must engage in meaningful conversations and build relationships with each and every prospective student. It means getting to know the student, what motivates them, and what holds them back. By reaching out early to high school students via their preferred platform and communication style and creating the right message is more than what and how to say it, but when to say it.
2. Always make it student-centered rather than about your institution
Show videos and share stories about what your institution has to offer a prospective student and how they can benefit. Instead of saying, “We have over 70 student-led clubs,” tell them, “You can hone in on your leadership skills with over 70 clubs to choose from.” By being ‘you-centric,’ you’re making it about what’s most important to them.
3. Talk about the bigger picture
When you’re just talking about campus life, majors, and potential career outcomes, it gives a big picture view of college. But what about beyond their degree? We know Gen Zers are the most informed generation yet and are interested in making a difference and how seeing how they can impact the world. Many have causes they are passionate about and movements they are involved with. Thinking about college is part of a larger journey for students.
4. Make the enrollment journey a personal experience
Personalization is key. When sending out communications or touchpoints, make it highly personal. Always use a prospective student’s name, interests, and experience (student-athlete, honors student) in messaging with various channels. Your institution’s CRM can populate personalized fields to include specifics in emails such as intended major or program, upcoming webinars based on interest, and a specific counselor for all questions leading up to enrollment.
5. Involve Parents/Families
Teenagers have many influences today, from TikTok, friends, “influencers” and their parents.
Teens may be more tech-savvy, but parents tend to have more experience in financial decisions, which is a huge deciding factor for both parents and students. Parents can also provide “realistic” guidance for determining the best fit for their teen’s education and career goals.
Although parents and family members are crucial in the decision-making process, a recent study from American Student Assistance (ASA) found that just 33% of surveyed parents believed they possessed the knowledge needed to guide their teen through the college decision-making process. This is why it’s crucial for colleges and universities to engage with parents right away and create personalized messaging. Design a landing page or microsite, create an email campaign, and mail postcards — just for parents. This will help parents keep the line of communication open with their teen and keep everyone in the loop about deadlines, open houses, and critical deposit and enrollment steps.
6. Create a video library and share with the digital world
When you post videos on your website, social channels, embed or link in emails, you’re connecting with prospective students the way they want content. They can comment, share, like, and go directly to your website. Videos can be a major influence, especially when they're confined to those hosted on YouTube, 2,562 million users and 81% of visitors between 18 and 25 years old.
7. Capitalize on the value of face-to-face communication
When it comes to enrollment, conversations with friends and family who attend the college or who are alumni have a significant impact. Personal contact from a college (either in person or by phone) is key once they’ve been accepted and are making their final decision. A phone call from an admissions counselor can ease anxieties and offer a real connection between the college and the student. A sense of belonging and community is more than best practice, but a strong ethos that is shared across higher education institutions across the country. When you reach out with a phone call or personally invite a prospective student for a campus visit, you’re giving that student a glimpse of more than campus, but community. When they feel they are already part of something, it’s easier for them to make that enrolment decision.
Colleges and universities have had to shift how they meet student enrollment goals. They have leveraged every emerging marketing tactic imaginable to find recruitment and enrollment methods that work. One way is by rethinking recruiting efforts to create new ways to drive enrollment.
At Keystone, we can also help you boost your enrollment numbers. Find out how we helped Boston College here:
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