College student recruitment is one of the most pressing activities in higher education. Institutions rely on healthy recruitment rates to maintain and grow their operations, enabling them to provide better programs and services to students along the way.
However, college student recruitment is increasingly challenging. A few decades ago, there were exponentially fewer institutions competing for students, more straightforward ways to communicate with the audience, and more time and stillness for decision-making on the student’s end. Now, the process is fast-paced and is influenced by a thousand overwhelming messages coming through multiple channels.
The prospective student just wants to find the right institution and program for her, to build a successful career in the right environment. Your college could be the place but, how to inform the student correctly?
Why Investing in College Student Recruitment?
Successful institutions more often than not work very, very hard to overcome the challenges in growing. College student recruitment is not something that happens organically. Instead, it requires a well-thought strategy to bring in the desired results.
Colleges and universities must present themselves in appealing ways to prospective students, talking their language, and attracting both those who have made a decision and those still figuring out where to apply.
This is no easy process. Nowadays, it requires creativity, digital literacy, and the capacity to adapt quickly, to try new approaches to recruitment. Experimentation is paramount, especially in our digital economy.
In the following lines, we will explore 5 ideas for success in college student recruitment. We are especially taking into consideration the modern challenges that higher education institutions are experiencing with the widespread adoption of digital tools.
1 – Assess Your Current Digital Recruitment Strategies
We must begin by understanding where we are with our existing digital recruitment strategies. What are our institution and staff doing to help prospective students? What is the outcome of our efforts? Are we receiving feedback? Are we updating the online message frequently enough? Are we highlighting all the benefits our institution delivers to the students?
These questions and many others can help us to understand the current state of our digital recruitment strategy and where the weaknesses are. In the process, we will be able to identify improvements in how we connect with prospective students, like updating the message more frequently, spending more time collecting feedback from current students, recognizing where technical upgrades can be implemented, among other potential changes.
Understanding conversions through the institution’s online assets, such as website and social media profiles, is a large part of this undertaking. Conversion rate optimization, a core component in digital marketing success, plays an equally critical role in modern college recruitment.
2 – Promote Your Institution’s Benefits in Concrete Terms
Too many institutions rely on inconclusive statements regarding how they are supporting their students and setting them up for success before and after graduation. However, it’s safe to say that such vague assertions are not effective among modern students.
Today, prospective students want to know, loud and clear, what benefits they will be receiving from any of the options they are considering. It’s not simply about your institution’s reputation in the field, which is important, but more about the concrete advantages in student services, financial aid, scholarships, technical resources supporting the learning process, internship potential, and more that your college has over other players in the Higher Education field.
These benefits, when promoted clearly, speak volumes for your institution. It is your goal to clear the fog and help the prospective student quickly realize the benefits of choosing your institution.
3 – Keep Online Resources Up-to-Date
Nothing hurts a college’s recruitment efforts more than having an outdated website. A technically-defective website, showing the wrong information, can definitely break your strategy to increase enrollment.
Online resources are the go-to for the vast majority of prospective students. Most of them won’t only hear about your institution online but that is where they will get the information to inform themselves and ultimately make up their minds.
Your website is much more than a pamphlet: it is the main stage where you will present key information that subsequently will bring new students in. This is the place to go in order to know about your institution and programs. How dangerous would be to show the wrong information then?
4 – Upgrade Your Admissions Process to Be Seamless
College student recruitment doesn’t stop with a prospective student choosing one of your institution’s programs. She still needs to go through the admission process, so there is still work to do.
As we have explored on the KlassApps blog before, the admission process nowadays has experienced a critical evolution thanks to digital tools. A seamless admission workflow is now possible without breaking the bank, dramatically simplifying things for both the student and the staff. Fully-digital paperless solutions like Edular enable this admission workflow we are referring to.
Thanks to such digital upgrades, prospective students can now conduct most or the entirety of the admissions process on their smartphones. Instead of jumping from one department to the other, with a heavy folder under their arms, they can now apply and submit all the documentation right from a digital interface. Both in-person and remote systems for enrollment must be in place.
This kind of upgrade is helping institutions to improve their college student recruitment strategies and ultimately their enrollment rates. By making the admissions process so easy for the prospective student, it is possible to avoid drop-outs during the paperwork.
5 – Make Your Students Part of the Message
Our last tip of the day lives between the categories of recruitment and marketing. Nonetheless, it can bring significant results to your institution.
Bringing your current students and graduates to the forefront of your message in a transparent way can create trust with prospective students. Incoming undergraduates will be interested to know the experience your institution delivers when told by other students.
Whatever format your institution chooses, their representation works as a powerful testimonial. Your institution’s message cannot simply compete with this. Prospective students want to relate and want to experience a high-fidelity experience if available before making a decision.
Social media is a good channel to test out this format. Most high-ed institutions will benefit from an active, well-thought presence on most social media platforms. And when it comes to formats, everything where the student is the protagonist will grant fabulous results.
It is not a coincidence that all 5 tips on college student recruitment that we provided are related to digital mediums.
From understanding current recruiting efforts to investing in better copywriting, upgrading the admissions process with digital tools, and sharing the right message on social media with the help of your students, most if not all of the strategies that are available to your institution rely heavily on online channels.
And here is why: modern-day students are living online. They prefer the convenience of their mobile apps, they research online anything they may need, and they make quicker decisions with what they find. This is the panorama at the moment and those colleges adapting to it are reaping the best results.
It’s now difficult to imagine a world where students go analogic, trying to do all the necessary paperwork through physical channels, communicating over phone calls and in person, and exclusively accessing academic materials on campus by visiting classrooms. Be this the case, institutions must gear up for the Digital Transformation challenge that is sweeping Higher Education admissions today.
Your college student recruitment process will greatly benefit from it and accessing these perks has never been this easy.