You are here

Articles: Enrollment & Retention

American colleges and universities are becoming far more internationally focused. The rise in the number of foreign students on U.S. campuses is well-documented, with an 8 percent increase in foreign students seeking education at a U.S. college or university between the 2013-2014 school year alone, according to the Institute for International Education’s Open Doors report. Our higher education institutions are continuing to be recognized around the world for top-quality research and education.

Special delivery, 18th Century style: A student dressed as George Washington delivers acceptance letters to Washington College applicants in the region—proving that innovative doesn’t have to mean high-tech when it comes to admissions tactics.

There was a time when colleges and universities could put their best marketing message out to the masses, and wait for students to respond and express interest. Today, it’s about being aggressive without being pushy, being more student-focused without being intrusive, and being more open to digital communication without sacrificing authenticity.

Marc C. Whitt is a 32-year veteran of higher education public relations and marketing. You may follow or contact him @marcwhitt.

Few of us could imagine where we would be in our institutional branding efforts without the internet and its related marketing and public relations applications. These digital tools have become our “digital front doors,” granting us the ability to effectively and efficiently share content with those eager to learn more about us.

Jennifer Wick is vice president of Scannell & Kurz higher education enrollment consultants, a Ruffalo Cody company.

Fueled by government agendas, national press and public opinion, higher education has in recent years come under increased scrutiny in the form of calls for heightened transparency and accountability.

Some of the U.S. Department of Education’s initiatives in response include:

A preferred gender pronoun can be selected by University of Vermont students.

The University of Vermont allows its students to identify their own gender around campus, even if it’s no gender at all.

Though the policy has existed for nearly five years, it wasn’t until a February New York Times article that UVM received significant attention, says Dot Brauer, director of the LGBTQA Center@UVM.

“Nothing prepared us for this level of excitement,” says Brauer, who received several requests for interviews and advice from other higher ed institutions. “The feedback has been nothing but positive and encouraging.”

When you watched this year’s Super Bowl, did you notice the higher education corporate partnership messaging? We were all witness to a historic NFL football broadcast from the University of Phoenix stadium in Glendale, Arizona. Think back to other sporting events like National University’s 2014 Holiday Bowl game in San Diego and you’ll find there is no shortage of co-branding and advertising partners in higher education – in fact, we see it all the time.

As recently as 10 years ago, the campus website was not viewed as a legitimate source of marketing, nor was its upkeep considered the responsibility of communications professionals.

When it comes to producing college publications, it is important to captivate your audience. There is no better way to communicate with students, staff, faculty, alumni and potential prospects than on the devices they already use. Distributing your college marketing materials, alumni magazines, admissions brochures, university athletics, student portfolios and more through mobile apps is a great idea, but what does it take to create an app that is award-winning status?

Mobile device page views spiked after North Carolina State University launched its redesigned website, which was optimized for mobile.

Colleges and universities miss a significant opportunity to capture the attention of their primary web audience—teens and young adults—when their websites aren’t designed to perform well on mobile devices. While it sounds like a simple concept, making it happen requires resources, a change in mindset and a willingness to experiment.

Kimberly R. Cline, president of Long Island University, says branding is essential in higher ed.

Branding may have historically been considered too commercial an endeavor for higher ed, but this mindset has clearly evolved. It’s no longer a question of whether a college should brand itself, but of how it can create an accurate embodiment of its mission and student experience.

Branding a university is fundamentally different than branding a product. A university is a complex, multifaceted institution that cannot necessarily encapsulate its essence with a single word, phrase or logo.

Paula V. Smith is a professor of English and director of the Purposeful Risk Engagement Project at Grinnell College in Iowa.

The academic landscape is fraught with risk—everything from hazardous chemicals and internal fraud, to flu outbreaks and budget shortfalls.

It seems obvious that any college or university would invest effort to identify and rank its current top risks, if just to assign the right level of attention and resources to each. Yet many academic institutions don’t follow through with enterprise risk management (ERM).

Successful firsts: MIT’s First Generation Program website includes personal snapshots from first-gen students, alumni and faculty.

Along with issues of retention and completion, many first-generation students face day-to-day challenges as they navigate social, academic, financial and administrative challenges. Here are 24 ways colleges can support first-generation students in every aspect and stage of student life.

New football teams continue to take the field at colleges and universities each fall, overcoming criticism—from within higher ed and from outside—that sports programs not only suck up money desperately needed by academic departments but also drive up tuition and student fees.

Dartmouth College has launched a new campaign to combat harmful student behavior, including sexual assault and high-risk drinking.

Under the “Moving Dartmouth Forward” plan, the Ivy League school will no longer serve hard alcohol (30 proof or higher) on campus and will increase penalties for underage students found in possession of hard alcohol. Also in the works:

Columbia College in Missouri is vastly expanding its athletics program, but  officials have no plans to add a football program.

The athletic department at Columbia College in Missouri will have tripled in size by the 2016-17 school year. But it has no plans to field a football team, says Cindy Potter, the associate director of athletics.

In 2012, the college—which has about 1,100 students attending class on its “day” campus and another 25,000-plus in various evening, extension and online programs throughout the country—added men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s cross country, and women’s soccer. By 2016, the Columbia Cougars will also compete in men’s and women’s track, and baseball.

Pages