Your College Recruitment Strategy Needs Personalization
Let’s face it, hitting your institution’s enrollment goals can feel like trying to swim upstream these days. Pandemic-related limitations, shifts in student demographics, and shrinking budgets are all realistic hurdles your team may be facing. Achieving your college recruitment strategy goals takes more intentionality than ever.
So how can you ensure your institution’s college recruitment strategy is on the right track? Communicate the right message, the right way, at the right time leveraging personalization.
Lucky for you, there are authentic, meaningful ways to connect with prospective students and their support systems.
Why Personalization as Part of Your College Recruitment Strategy?
There’s an often-repeated adage surrounding college recruitment strategy that students think with their head in the fall of the recruitment cycle (What’s the distance from home? Does the school have high graduation rates and job placements?) and with their hearts in the spring (Will I fit in? Will I like my roommate? What will I do when I’m not in class?).
What does this mean for you? During the most crucial part of the process (spring), students and their support system are most concerned with connection.
As we move deeper into the spring, are your deposits not at the level your data shows they should be? Sure, you could send an email reminding the student that now is the time to lock-in their seat for the fall. What if, instead, you could make a truly lasting impression? Or, when May slips into June and July, are you fearful of the dreaded “summer melt?” How can you help those deposited students not second-guess their choice?
Here are three distinct ways to forge impactful connections that engage students more directly than a mass-printed t-shirt. (Though we do want to point out we love a free t-shirt!):
1. Video: Appeal to Their Heart and Eyes
As noted in Forbes’ own research and investigation, the largest traditional higher education learner demographic favors one communication format over all others: video. But you already know that, right? So how can you take this knowledge and turn it into the competitive edge? How can your admission team integrate this into your college recruitment strategy?
Not all video messaging platforms are created equally in the eyes of prospective students. In fact, The Atlantic explored that this key demographic of students actually shun high-gloss, overly stylized video in favor of raw, more authentic and candid expression.
With the genuine, personal use of Covideos, you can stifle emotional fears and bolster inclusivity. Engage your prospective students in the most vital way at the most ideal time. Consider bringing in a current student from the prospect’s intended engineering major. Have that current student send a quick Covideo sharing about the concrete canoe competition they recently competed in. Or maybe they can share about the “secret” menu at one of the campus’s breakfast spots.
2. Handwritten Notes: Old School, New Expression
While letters in the mail don’t have the same level of prevalence with prospective students as a text message, the highly intentional, personally expressive act of providing a handwritten note can continue to solidify that affinity your lead has with your institution.
A simple “thank you for visiting” card, a note congratulating their recognition of a scholarship, or even a holiday-related piece in the mail reminds students they are top-of-mind in an effort-noticeable way. These are thoughtful ways to boost your college recruitment strategy.
3. Second Voice: Tag Team with Additional Communicators
In addition to the work your admission team does to accommodate prospective students, leveraging the insights and likability of other individuals these students will potentially be in contact with can also go a long way in furthering their connection with your institution.
Faculty, financial aid officers, student ambassadors, and student life/residence life directors can all be brought into the communication process to not only speak directly to questions or concerns a prospective student may have, but they also extend that prospect’s network of connections on campus and their comfort with becoming established and integrated into the campus culture.
According to Inside Higher Ed, the linear approach to communicating with prospective and current students no longer applies in the same way that the assembly line-inspired, linear education model has already begun to be replaced.
Your team and institution are already fantastic at what they do. Highlight those meaningful distinctions in impactful ways through highly personalized, deeply authentic outreach and communication to achieve your college recruitment strategy.