It’s never been more important to have a strategy in place to increase enrollment.
Generating leads and getting applications are still important – but they are no longer enough to get students through the door come the fall. And even deposits aren’t as accurate a measure as they used to be.
With so much uncertainty, having a strategy in place to improve enrollment is so important. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Here are the 6 tips we recommend to improve your student enrollment:
- Communicate with your students
- Understand their unique circumstances
- Really showcase your campus
- Use storytelling as a tool
- Save them a seat at a virtual event
- Connect them with a peer
Now that you have a rough idea of the top 6 tips, let’s dig a little deeper.
1. Communicate with your students
It’s really important that the opportunity to connect with a peer is highlighted across communications. Having the opportunity to speak to someone makes a huge difference and can be the difference between choosing to enroll or defer.
Regular contact will help give these students more confidence and a feeling of having more control. And all of us know that when we feel we have control over our decisions, we feel less anxious and more motivated.
Even email can be effective when used correctly. What matters is the ability to engage your current student body and alumni. When you couple this together with products like Unibuddy, you’re well on your way to helping power students’ decisions through peer-to-peer connections and nurturing those relationships.
2. Understand their unique circumstances
You will know well that every student is an individual, and their unique circumstances will also come with unique challenges. Those individual characteristics are important to be aware of now more than ever.
The challenges that a First Gen student will face are very distinct. The motivations of an international student will differ from a domestic student. An out-of-state student will have different questions than a local student.
Communicating with them is one thing – but communicating relevant information is key to improve student enrollment. Answer their questions before they have them, and send them the right information at the right time.
3. Really showcase your campus
Campus tours are so important. They have a proven impact on yield and on reducing melt and offer a great way to show off everything your school has to offer.
Students want to see a campus to ensure it meets their expectations and needs. See that the dorms are close to the classrooms, there is study space for everyone, and that the sports facilities are up to par.
But much more importantly, there is the emotional element. This is what is sometimes called the ‘sense of belonging’ that students gain from these sorts of events. It’s about seeing the campus, figuring out whether they can imagine themselves living there, and getting them excited about the opportunity to attend your college without ever stepping foot on it. Most students won’t have the ability to travel to each school they apply to. So bringing the real and authentic campus experience to their computer screen is priceless.
4. Use storytelling as a tool
Every institution has a story, so what’s yours? With so many different enrollment strategies, schools often forget that their school is a brand that they can leverage through storytelling. Storytelling is the best form of education marketing. As Sharon Aschaiek says:
“Audiences care about stories and characters because they want to see a journey or a struggle to overcome a problem.”
Your applicants are your audience and telling a story may be all it takes to get them to enroll into your school. Share the craziest thing that has happened, stories of what a professor has to say about teaching a notable alumni, or even if a TV show has been filmed on campus. It can be anything, just make it specific to your school.
5. Save them a seat at a virtual event
Virtual events are the best way to connect with students around the world– not to mention they are super easy to access. Hold a Q&A virtual event with a current student, or set up coffee with the Dean, or even hold a virtual event with your school’s mascot.
Getting prospective students excited about your school is so important. Reach out with a ‘I’ve saved you a seat’ email that has access to upcoming virtual events. Prospective students will then have the opportunity to view upcoming events that they can click into, and gain a better sense of community around your school and its offerings.
6. Connect them with a peer
We believe the key to a sense of belonging is the opportunity to connect with a peer. When you’re booking a holiday or deciding where to go out for dinner, we often go online and read reviews of people who have been there recently.
And when your prospective students are deciding where to study, they want the exact same thing! They want to speak to students who are currently there, studying their degree, and living the experience.
Whether it’s through in-person or virtual events, 1-1 chats or even user-generated content, make sure your students have the opportunity to hear from someone like them.
H2: Final thoughts
Engaging prospective students can be difficult if not approached the right way. Oftentimes, marketing departments are so caught up with their own initiatives that thinking strategically about how a prospective student engages in their higher ed journey is put on the back burner.
Thankfully there’s a solution to help with that. Unibuddy is the #1 peer-to-peer platform that is proven to drive leads and engage prospective students throughout their decision-making process which is arguably one of the most important decisions they will have made to date.
With features like Unibuddy Chat, Unibuddy Events, and Unibuddy Discover, prospective students will be able to access an easy-to-use platform –that fits directly into your website– that allows them to learn, explore, and create relationships with the current students from your institution.
Want to learn more? Book a demo to see how Unibuddy can improve your higher education student enrollment.