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Articles: Recruitment

Fashion Forward—Kent State University students can take a semester-long break from life on the Ohio campus to immerse themselves in fashion design, merchandising or journalism in New York City’s Garment District.

Exotic branch campuses across the globe give American institutions an extra shine when recruiting students and establishing an internationally recognized brand. Now, several universities are finding similar success with satellites in other parts of the U.S.

Shani Lenore-Jenkins is associate vice president of enrollment at Maryville University.

While its primary focus is to educate students, a university is still a business with customers. Traditional marketing methods such as mailings, phone calls and old-fashioned boots-on-the-ground visits are no longer the best ways to reach today’s tech-savvy students, who find the information they need online.

John Meagle is the chief marketing officer at Centenary University in New Jersey.

When Centenary College was granted university status in May, the news was celebrated by students, faculty, alumni and staff. For the marketing and student recruitment team, it was an opportunity to build awareness of the experience the institution offers career-oriented students.

The College-Bound Student E-Expectations Survey asked 3,000 college-bound high school seniors and juniors about their digital habits and expectations—from the start of the recruiting cycle. Here’s a selection of the top insights from the study.

Aaron Mahl is a vice president and consultant at Ruffalo Noel Levitz.

Large public universities and smaller liberal arts colleges, on the other hand, are finding it increasingly difficult to maintain their male enrollments. The National Center for Education Statistics projects that, by 2020, men will represent only 41 percent of college enrollees.

John L. Gann, Jr., consults, trains, and writes on marketing. He is author of "The Third Lifetime Place: A New Economic Opportunity for College Towns."

Although their leaders might claim otherwise, ratings by U.S. News, Princeton Review and others are of outsized importance to universities today. But what about the many colleges that didn’t rank high with these reviewers? How can they compete with the list-toppers?

Remember the “Flutie Effect”? That’s the claim that Boston College applications increased as a result of Doug Flutie’s last-second Hail Mary pass that won a football game against the defending champs from the University of Miami. Now we may be seeing the opposite—let’s call it the Scandal Side Effect—where a school’s bad publicity can drive applicants away.

University of Maine has been strategic in offering discounted tuition to students in certain states. (Gettyimages.com: Crossroadscreative)

Students from six nearby states can now attend the University of Maine at the same in-state tuition rate offered by the flagship institutions in their home states.

The university launched its Flagship Match program this spring to boost not just its enrollment, but also prestige.

As completion rates of full-time students in Maine flounder and high school graduation numbers fall in the Northeast (by a predicted 5 percent in the next five years), university leaders look outside the state to fill classrooms.

The numbers should unsettle enrollment professionals: College and university enrollment rates have decreased for each of the last four years and nothing indicates a reversal anytime soon.

Poorly designed websites can turn students off to a college or university, a new report warns. (Gettyimages.com: Anatolii BabiiI)

When it comes to website design, universities continue to make common key mistakes that turn away potential students. A report says schools often miss the mark when trying to appeal to a generation raised on short, easy-to-digest communication popularized by social media.

Robert Miller is vice president for enrollment management of Centenary University.

Ubiquitous in the business world, big data is being adopted by higher education, particularly in the area of recruitment. With stagnant or declining recruitment budgets and increased competition for students, leveraging the data most colleges capture is a cost-effective approach that can yield significant results.

It has been demonstrated amply that financial aid leveraging can, under the right circumstances, increase enrollment and net tuition revenue. For some, however, that isn’t the case.

Enrollment leaders must therefore assess other aspects of recruitment to determine how effectively they are working to build larger, more committed applicant and admit pools, especially when increases in aid are not conducive or possible.

In the 2014-15 academic year, the number of international students at U.S. colleges and universities grew at the highest rate in 35 years, increasing by 10 percent to more than 970,000 students. (Image: Thinkstock.com/Rawpixel Ltd)

Because students from other countries, or simply from areas far from their desired college, can’t attend in-person interviews, admissions professionals are turning to virtual interviews as a way to evaluate candidates—helping ensure the selection of those who will make the most valuable contributions on campus.

Virtual interview platforms. (Click to enlarge)

Determining the return on investment for virtual admissions interviews involves understanding the resources and when the technology will be used.

At the University of Rochester, the commitment is bigger than most. One full-time employee and eight senior students have been hired and trained just to conduct Skype interviews during this admissions cycle, says Jonathan Burdick, dean of college admission and vice provost for enrollment initiatives.

The traditional MBA, the flagship of graduate business education for more than a century, is losing ground as applicants increasingly turn to online degrees and specialized master’s programs in business-related fields.

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