College attendance continues to decline. According to The Evolllution, an online newspaper, the enrollment for Spring 2002 dropped. Students face many challenges like student debt. Additionally, with the demand for workers, some students are putting off college for now and are working. Many companies like Google offer career certificates that compete against the traditional colleges that offer online courses. Thus, colleges continually face new competition. Higher-ed leaders can consider these 5 strategies for college enrollment.
1.) Match Marketing For Different Audiences For College Enrollment
College leaders lead their teams to create marketing for different audiences. Different audiences may be interested in your school. Not only do Gen Z students attend college, but later generations return to colleges as adult learners. Thus, college leaders gear marketing and course development toward these different groups. Yet, leaders ensure that marketing research leads these efforts. Some leaders may rely on a school’s image instead of marketing when creating outreach. Demographic changes and other situations challenge outreach goals for many college leaders.
2.) Create a Social Media Takeover for a Channel for College Enrollment
Besides that, colleges can increase engagement for college attendance by creating social media takeover days. For instance, because TikTok resonates with many young college applicants, teams can focus on this platform for marketing efforts. Leadership teams set clear goals. Who will be the main influencer? What methods like live video will be used? The promotions for the takeover can be clear and communicated to staff. Depending on a college’s goal, a particular department could lead the takeover. Thus, college leaders guide their teams to create a framework to match goals and produce results. Most importantly, a clear focus ensures marketing efforts are not wasted, especially considering the budget and time.
3.) Produce Unique Virtual Tours to Promote Your College
Creating an immersive experience—a virtual tour of your college provides a way to connect to students. During the pandemic, virtual tours increased. Thus, colleges can still rely on them as a tool. Moreover, some students are unable to visit your school for various reasons like not having enough money to travel. Thus, colleges can produce a rich, virtual experience of their campuses. EAB offers a college tour service that offers “interactive elements, immersive 360 photos, and inquiry forms.” Many sites like eCampus and Concept3D host tours for colleges. Therefore, college leaders utilize a virtual tour. It will promote the best of their campus and reveal students who want to attend their college. Potential students experience how a college is mapped and the intricacies it provides. Thus, colleges use virtual tours to engage students using video, bots, and guided information.
4.) Create a Personal Experience for Prospective Students for College Enrollment
College leaders promote a college experience that is personal for the student. Depending on the resources, colleges can assign a counselor to prospective students. This way, a counselor reaches out directly to the student. The method provides a bridge when a student wants to enroll or ask questions. Colleges tailor communications for the student to engage. Thus, consider the generation. Gen Z students use mobile more, so the communications should be mobile-first. An adult student may like a call or email. Also, younger students expect diversity and equity, so be sure the personal experience messaging uses inclusive design.
5.) Offer Students Perks to Improve College Enrollment
Colleges create personal perks for incoming students. Thus, administrators work with their marketing department to produce microsites or materials acknowledging incoming students. Schools highlight these students and can provide wrap-around services or connections to advisors. These sites can connect incoming students of different backgrounds. Most importantly, with focused landing pages, students who are “on the fence” or undecided can be targeted. From here, colleges can create other offerings like a fee waiver to convert a prospective student to an incoming candidate.
Enrollment creates many challenges for colleges because it continues to decline. Therefore, higher-ed leaders must consider the different ways to attract students. Creating personal experiences, social media takeovers, and targeting different audiences can help improve enrollment. Most importantly, college leaders should review market research rather than just relying on their college’s image. Creating a virtual tour or making microsites help engage new students like Gen Z candidates.