COLLEGE RECRUITMENT GETS AN OVERHAUL: In the wake of cancelled open houses, one of the biggest mistakes Echo Delta’s Scott Rhodes sees enrollment professionals making is thinking “Hey, let’s roll out a PowerPoint slide, we’ll have a bunch of talking heads and we’ll open it up to questions at the end.” AMA took a closer look at five common recruitment channels (like open houses) and provided suggestions for new, alternative options enrollment teams can deploy (in manageable steps) during the COVID-19 pandemic. One of our favorites: Don’t Zoom Onto Zoom.
Why you should care: There’s no doubt about it; some of the most common higher education recruitment tactics are getting overhauled thanks to COVID-19. AMA’s strategy recommendations for rethinking five common recruitment channels (campus tours, social media, open house events, paid ads and direct mail campaigns) are great for scrappy, budget-strapped enrollment marketers.
FREE ONLINE SUMMER COURSES: ARE THEY WORKING? Several colleges and community colleges are providing incoming undergraduate freshmen with a free, online course this summer, even before the fall semester begins. While offering a free course isn’t feasible for every school, for some, the decision was made easy thanks to student surveys and feedback. For Fairfield University, almost 70% of incoming freshmen expressed interest in a free, online course offering, providing confirmation to administrators and an opportunity to engage with students.
Why you should care: Some recruitment teams are utilizing free course offerings to engage incoming students and (hopefully) reduce melt. But offering free online courses can also be a risk; failing to provide incoming freshmen with a stellar first impression online could cause some to rethink their fall decision. If you are a school capable of providing this offering to students, make sure the experience is seamless, smooth, and memorable.
UNIQUE IDEAS FOR YOUR NEXT VIRTUAL EVENT: By now you’ve probably hosted some sort of online event. With fall open houses and other last minute recruitment events likely staying online through the fall, LinkedIn provides some alternative ideas for your next virtual event. Consider conducting a fireside chat with a well-known professor or alumni, host an “Ask Me Anything” session with a program coordinator, conduct an interview with a program-related figure your prospective students look up to, or set up current student panels to answer prospective students’ questions.
Why you should care: In the COVID-19 era, virtual events and webinars are a dime a dozen. Now more than ever, you need your virtual event to stand out. Think about inviting well-known alumni or professors to host a virtual recruitment event, or even connecting current students with prospective students through a virtual panel. These provide far more enjoyable experiences than a typical Zoom call where you flip through a stale slide deck of financial aid information.