HOW ADMISSIONS TEAMS ARE RESPONDING TO COVID-19: Kira Talent asked 250 schools across North America, Europe, and Asia about their admissions teams’ response to COVID-19. About 81% of enrollment professionals extended deadlines for at least one phase of their admissions process and more than 50% either changed policies to add more flexibility for international students, one-on-one phone chats with candidates, and optional deferrals.
Why you should care: More than half of the respondents expressed worries that they would not be able to fill their classes due to travel restrictions (58% concerned), students’ uncertainty about financial commitments (54% concerned), or students deferring their enrollment if their program is online come September (54% concerned). While many of these decisions are not in the hands of enrollment professionals, being flexible in deadlines, extensively communicative with prospective students, and improving accommodations for international students may help improve fall numbers.
IMPACT OF CORONAVIRUS ON STUDENTS’ ACADEMIC PROGRESS AND COLLEGE PLANS: Niche.com surveyed over 80,000 high school students, college/graduate students, and parents of K-12 students for a better understanding of changes in the perception of education. The survey is jam- packed with data on student impressions of how well schools are responding to the pandemic. Of the most eye-opening stats, these are are perhaps the most important for enrollment marketers: 57% of high school seniors reported that they were reconsidering their college options and 60% of high school students said that how a college handles this situation will affect their decision.
Why you should care: Niche.com’s survey results should be read in full; it even contains anonymous direct quotes from students about challenges they are facing and what they are looking for in a college. One high school senior in San Diego said, “I feel like I’m taking more of a risk when I make my decision. I have to do virtual tours and try to find students at each school to ask about the programs.” These survey responses give you a direct look inside the minds of prospective students who are juggling many considerations ahead of the fall term. They also underscore the significance of high-quality virtual tours and opportunities for Q&As with current students.
IDEAS FOR BUILDING A SENSE OF COMMUNITY FOR PROSPECTIVE STUDENTS: Prospective students are looking for many things in their college search, and one of them is a strong community or sense of belonging. Without campus visits, replicating that community feeling can be a tough task. With the advanced technology available today, here are a few ideas for how to recreate that sense of community sense of connection for prospective students:
- Text Message Based AMAs (Ask me Anything) with your enrollment team
- Live AMA Sessions on Instagram Live, Facebook Live, etc.
- Feedback Surveys (and then share results with the community)
- Virtual Coffee Chats
- Program Webinars (what can students expect to learn from your program?)
Why you should care: Prospective students not only look for programs that will advance their careers and equip them with new skill sets – they also seek a new family to join. Enrollment marketers who can communicate program value and a sense of community, despite the distanced world we live in right now, will win on many fronts.