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Articles: Recruitment

In an era when prospective students and their parents can learn about hundreds of schools from the comfort of their homes, the in-person campus tour offers a golden opportunity to tip the scales in your favor. But too often, these tours follow the same staid formulas.

Santa Monica College hosts a festival to celebrate students from more than 100 nations who attend classes on campus.

Lone Star College has the fourth highest number of international students among U.S. two-year institutions, but the Houston-area school does not recruit abroad aggressively. Like many community colleges, it relies on local immigrant communities to spread the word with friends and family in foreign countries.

As the NBA season comes to a close, we are reminded of 10 year old Lebron James Jr., son of all-star Lebron James. Junior’s basketball skills have already garnered NCAA attention which led to Lebron James Sr. declaring his son “already got some offers from colleges” and that “it should be a violation. You shouldn’t be recruiting 10-year old kids”.

For most parents, 10 years old is too young to recruit – even for athletically and intellectually gifted children. Yet, this snippet of reality begs the real question: how early is too early for college recruitment?

Mike Sapienza

The variety of challenges facing enrollment leaders are well documented: changing demographics, increased competition for students, scarce outcome data— and the list goes on. Resources are also limited, and so it is critically important for enrollment managers to measure the ROI of the initiatives they take and then adjust as necessary.

“Excuses” campaign messaging appears on buses, a billboard, bar coasters and coffee sleeves, as well as on radio and the web.

Admissions marketing pros have heard a wide variety of reasons why prospective students don’t believe they can go—or go back—to college.

Park University in Missouri’s “Excuses” campaign, wrapping up this spring, takes an entertaining approach to breaking down access barriers. Promos poke fun at excuses that range from “no pens” and “no matching socks” to “you’re not much of a morning, afternoon or evening person” and “my thumb drive is full.”

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.

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.

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.

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.

Karine Joly says SnapChat may be a useful recruiting tool for colleges and universities.

You’ve tamed Twitter, made inroads with Instagram and finessed Facebook.

Now you can take a break from keeping up with the social networking habits of college students, right?

Think again.

While a few colleges are still trying to grasp the intricacies of the top social platforms, early adopters have been exploring other platforms for communications and marketing.

Among the many hopefuls, SnapChat has started to get real traction on college campuses.

Higher ed leaders expect modest enrollment increases in the coming year. (Click to enlarge graphic)

From declining numbers of traditional-age high school graduates and changing student demographics, to the overall concern among consumers about the value of a higher education, anxiety will haunt enrollment administrators moving forward.

Billboards promoting the Meredith College "Going Strong" brand can be spotted throughout the Raleigh, N.C., area and beyond.

When you think “rebranding campaign,” it most likely conjures up images of marketing and communications officers meeting with the school president and board of trustees to toil over logo colors, mascots and slogans. In reality, it’s a much more complex process, involving the entire school community.

Increasing enrollment is a priority for many institutions. The race is on to create a marketplace distinction in order to attract new students and to retain current students. As if this challenge weren’t enough, colleges and universities are faced with rising costs, reduced endowments and smaller budgets. As campus leaders look for ways to leverage their resources and still accomplish their enrollment and growth goals, one viable strategy is to recognize the role that physical facilities have on student attraction and retention.

Resource constraints and other challenges are preventing some historically black colleges and universities from internationalizing their campuses as extensively as other institutions of higher education.

That’s a major finding of the Creating Global Citizens initiative, which for three years studied seven HBCUs that worked with the American Council on Education’s Inclusive Excellence Group and the Center for Internationalization and Global Engagement.