College recruiting is getting tougher every year. On top of the pandemic’s blow to enrollment, tuition costs keep rising, and the pool of students from which to recruit keeps shrinking.
When the competition is this fierce, it’s imperative that you continue to fine-tune your college recruitment strategies. Here are six ways to level up your college recruitment efforts.
- Get Targeted and Stop Guessing
Targeted college recruitment efforts will save you money and time. College Matchmaking® offers a flat-priced, student-driven solution that eliminates the practice of blindly guessing at which student demographics to purchase from standardized testing lists. Here’s how it works: Both colleges and students complete a matchmaking questionnaire, providing fresh and accurate responses.
College Matchmaking then matches student interests with college attributes in five key areas: campus size, campus setting, areas of study, institution type, and geographic region. Colleges who subscribe then pay a flat price for the names of students who have already declared their institution to be a good fit (by virtue of interest–attribute matching!), thus receiving an immensely more qualified list of student candidates.
- Conduct A/B Testing
Other data-driven approaches, like A/B testing, can help you optimize your marketing assets, such as your institution’s website. The process is fairly straightforward: You create two versions of a digital asset (webpage, form, pop-up, etc.)—A and B—and then test variables such as the order of information on a page or a call to action. By determining what grabs the attention of your target audiences, you can adjust the asset accordingly. Ultimately, you’ll gain confidence that your marketing choices are, in fact, achieving the results you want.
- Attend Virtual College Fairs
Another way to boost your online presence is to attend virtual college fairs. They’re great for students who want to meet as many colleges as possible without leaving the comfort of their homes, and they’re great for colleges looking to collect qualified leads.
To help you maximize your return at virtual college fairs, GoToCollegeFairs provides a custom-built virtual college fair platform that mimics the in-person campus event experience, while adding resources and capabilities that are simply not possible at a traditional college fair.
When students enter the virtual lobby, they can use customized filters to identify participating colleges, presentations, and education sessions that interest them most. Once they hit the exhibition floor, they can bookmark and engage with select colleges in one-on-one or group formats, watch videos, and even apply on the spot. Moreover, every student’s activity and preferences expressed before, during, and after the virtual fair are tracked and analyzed to support your follow-up recruiting efforts.
- Use a Personal Touch
While it does take extra time and effort, setting up face-to-face meetings virtually or in person will show future applicants that you care about hearing directly from them and answering their questions about your school. Alumni are a great resource to engage in this aspect of college recruiting. There are many more of them than there are of you, and they can help be the face of the institution while judging whether an applicant is a good fit for your school. Alumni are also ideal for providing firsthand information about your college’s curriculum, classes, faculty, resources, and community to curious applicants.
- Go Where the Students Are
Consider visiting the high schools where your best-fit students are enrolled. By showing up in person for a high school visit, you are telling those students that they are wanted by your college.
Many applicants today also have a strong internet presence, so you should engage with them online, as well. Start with these four tips to strengthen your virtual connections to prospective students: 1) identify the most-used social media platforms on campus and focus your community-building efforts on those platforms; 2) build your follower base; 3) make consistent, creative, and interesting content; and 4) make sure an easy-to-follow application process is linked in posts and, most importantly, on your profile page.
- Demonstrate the Value of a Degree from Your School
None of these college recruitment strategies will get you very far unless you are able to convince students of the value of a college degree. And what do applicants care about? Finding a job after graduation. Therefore, it’s essential that you detail the real-world outcomes of your institution’s programs.
Job placement stats are a key factor for applicants deciding which college they want to attend. Explain what companies tend to employ graduates of programs at your school, what percentage of graduates have won those jobs, and what specific skill sets your school is teaching. Additionally, highlighting alumni who have achieved success on your social media channels, on your website, and in email campaigns will show applicants that there are better horizons ahead when they attend your college.