Author’s note: This post is taken directly from our free eBook: The Definitive Guide to Undergraduate Recruiting
Know what students want
Today’s student body is diverse and complex. But even while you develop a clearer picture of your school’s particular niche, you should know the undergrad population as a whole shares many similarities. When looking at incoming freshmen, what they want is—more often than not—to improve their employability. A study by UCLA found that 87.9% of surveyed entering students at four-year schools said “being able to get a better job” as a very important reason for going to college.
And, affordability is also top-of-mind—66% of students surveyed said the current economy affected the school they ultimately chose.ii Then, there are expectations about timing. An overwhelming 83.4% of students expected to graduate in four years—but actual four-year graduation rates from colleges surveyed showed it was likely that only 40.6% would do so. ii Finally, more incoming students said they frequently felt overwhelmed during their senior year of high school (up to 30.4% from 28.5%), highlighting the need for solid campus-based health and wellness resources and support.
Speak directly to their needs
In other words, create customized messaging that speaks to the heart of what your audience is looking for – including the concerns we just mentioned. That means implicitly laying out exactly how your school—and its programs—meet these needs. Today’s students are looking for a practical ROI, or return on investment. They want details on the internships, job placements opportunities, corporate partnerships, and instruction from industry experts that will help them get a job once they graduate. And, remember that your tone and language needs to resonate with your audience. Make it short, snappy, and to the point.
Now that you’ve identified who your ideal students are, what they want, and what they need, here are 8 tactics to ramp up your recruiting efforts and really engage prospective students.
1. Optimize your web presence
41% of online students look to a school’s website for their primary source of detailed program information, according to the 2016 Online Students Report —followed by Google and Bing.ii The point being, your online presence is important! Here’s what you should be doing to make the most of it, according to a recent study on higher education recruiting by Hanover Research:
- Ensure your website design is responsive, engaging, and accessible on multiple platforms.
- Develop a search engine optimization strategy so your school can rank higher on search listings (particularly with Google).
- Use web analytics software to make sure that you’re reaching your target audience and gathering more data on who they are.
- List your school on higher education directories such as Unigo.com or GradSchools.com. With millions of prospective students visiting these websites each year, it’s a simple way to bring new prospects into your enrollment funnel.