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Articles: Recruitment

It’s really no surprise that today’s technology-savvy generation is challenging elements of the traditional college recruitment process. The conventional approaches of marketing, recruitment and admissions are all being called into question, in part, due to two driving factors—external influences and the changing needs of today’s student. This article explores these factors and offers ideas on what can be done to reach, and connect, with more students.

Postcards promote a Presbyterian College  microsite that can be personalized via Facebook.

As some colleges and universities sprint into the digital viewbook model, others are tiptoeing into a new model that bypasses the traditional print viewbook for other millennial-friendly approaches.

Millennials, the generation born between the late 1970s and early 2000s, speak a language all their own. A digital camera is a camera; a cell phone is a phone. They’ve grown up with the internet and are wholly immersed in technology with websites like Amazon and Zappos customized to their individual interests.
The question for higher education enrollment managers is this: Is the viewbook, the crown jewel of the admissions process, ready for a leap into the online world? The answer: A resounding maybe.

Roanoke Pinterest board

Colleges and universities are rushing to use Pinterest, the fast-growing social media innovation, but many remain uncertain of where it fits in their promotional mix. A key factor appears to be how important they consider adult women to be in their marketing outreach.

Higher education is a dynamo for economic growth, powering the supply of high-level skills and the technological advances for improving productivity and opening up new markets. Where higher ed flourishes, so can an economy.


At The University of Vermont­, a small public research university, officials had realized that mobile would become very important to our stakeholders. It was 2007 and mobile adoption rates had begun to skyrocket. Smart phones had begun to proliferate nationally and at the institution, which has an average combined enrollment of 12,500 undergraduate, graduate, and medical students.

Social media gurus and CRM providers share a vision for a future where CRM and social media go hand in hand. But the idea is in its early stages.

“The CRM system assumes that everything is data, whereas most of what you’re talking about is people and conversations with people,” shares Michael Staton, founder of Inigral, creator of the Schools App. The goal? “A CRM where the entire premise is that you’re interacting, you’re not just logging data about accounts and tracking potential revenue,” he says.

Last August, when a 5.8-magnitude earthquake shook Virginia, people in offices up the East Coast were reading about the quake before they felt their desks not-so-mysteriously begin to wobble. How? Chalk it up to another feat of Twitter (by this time it had already helped topple unruly regimes in the Middle East). During the earthquake, users tweeted at a rate of 5,500 tweets per second, with 40,000 tweets hitting Twitter timelines and TweetDecks in just one minute.

After a somewhat slow start, higher education institutions are increasingly taking advantage of social media to market themselves and keep constituents aware of what they are doing. A recent social media adoption study conducted by the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth shows usage rates are increasing steadily in every year. For example, university Twitter usage jumped from 59 percent in the 2009-2010 school year to 89 percent in the 2010-2011 school year. Similarly, Facebook usage increased dramatically from 61 percent in 2008-2009 to 98 percent in 2010-2011.

What difference can a year make? When it comes to the mobile web in higher education, it seems that it’s all it took to switch gears and respond to the needs of an increasing mobile user population on campuses—and elsewhere.

Alumnae Beverly Diederich, Mary Habstritt, and Margot Note with “Today Show” host Al Roker.

On February 29, St. Catherine University (Minn.) students, alumnae, faculty, staff, and friends made their presence and appreciation for their school known in a big way. That Wednesday, designated Shout Out St. Kate’s Day, was a chance for everyone to share what drew them to the school, what they think sets St. Kate’s apart, and more. The hashtag #ShoutOutStKates earned trending status on Twitter. Daily total impressions on the university’s Facebook page jumped from 19,000 the day before to 232,000 that day.

UCLA’s Murphy Sculpture Garden was the backdrop for an interview with UCLA art professor James Welling for the four-part mini-series “Naked Art.”

There is more to YouTube than videos of talking dogs. Its vast collection of educational videos includes those from University of California Television (UCTV). In March, order was brought to the chaos by the creation of channels offering original programming funded by YouTube. Existing content creators ranging from TED to Madonna were invited to participate; UCTV has bragging rights as being the only university channel. “YouTube is moving into the content creation business by [investing] in a select few channels,” explains Lynn Burnstan, UCTV’s director.

Industry News

Heartland Payment Systems Campus Solutions division has been awarded a contract by the Tennessee Board of Regents System to manage financial aid disbursement and refund management to six universities, 13 community colleges and 27 technology centers. The TBR System manages more than $600 million in annual financial aid refunds.

Since the federal calculator mandate’s October deadline, Student Aid Services has announced that 678 campuses have selected the company’s net price calculators to help families plan how to pay for an education.

Anna Maria College football players on the field

The University of Texas at San Antonio campus is dominated by modern cream-colored buildings with dark red tile roofs and acres of parking lots, testimony to 40 years of serving largely as a commuter school for students from the surrounding area.

When asked to reflect on the role of higher education in preparing future workers, Bill Gates replied: “Life is not divided into semesters. You don’t get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you find yourself...At Microsoft there are lots of brilliant ideas but the image is that they all come from the top—I’m afraid that’s not quite right.” Gates reminds us of the importance of practical, real-world, learning by doing for tomorrow’s Smartcollar science and technology workers.

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