Now more than ever, we’re all looking for strategies to support our student recruitment: reaching students wherever they are, and giving them the confidence and knowledge to succeed in their student journey.
But reaching them is harder than ever, and standing out in an increasingly competitive crowd is becoming a challenge.
Here are some of the strategies adopted by top universities around the world to attract and retain the best students for your institution.
Use student ambassadors
Peer to peer is part of our routine and our decision making in everyday life. Netflix crowdsources film recommendations through reviews, we base our holiday decisions on TripAdvisor feedback. Facebook even built recommendations into its posting functionality as users were commonly asking one another.
So, naturally, it works in Higher Education for student recruitment and marketing. That’s where student ambassadors come in.
Universities like Erasmus School of Economics have harnessed their current students to act as the best advocates for the university, and share their experiences with prospective students.
They found that by connecting an accepted student with a student ambassador, students were more likely to enrol. In fact, an incredible 90% of accepted students that are connected with an ambassador go on to start at the university.
Aleksandra Stuip, Online Marketing Adviser, says: “We received a lot of requests from prospective students who wanted to get connected to our current students, but we couldn’t find an efficient and effective way to do this until we came across Unibuddy.
“Then it all fell into place: prospects could get all their answers from our students and we as an institution get to see all the stats and measure the outcome.”
User Generated Content is significantly impactful on decision making and brand recognition. Check out these stats from Trend.io:
86% of millennials say that User Generated Content is a good indicator of the quality of a brand.
70% of consumers trust online peer reviews and recommendations more than professional content and copy.
Universities across the world are effectively utilising their students as content creators. They’re digital natives who are more than happy to create impressive and creative content in a range of mediums.
Newcastle University’s Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences decided to start utilising student-created content in their marketing efforts. Students have written over 600 blogs on a range of topics – and generated 12,000 unique views from prospective students!
Valentina Terrinoni, Marketing and Student Recruitment Officer, said: “We really wanted relevant information we can use to support prospective students from shortlisting to making their final choice.”
Going digital gives universities the ability to curate a personalized experience. In addition to blogs, vlogs and other video content perform extremely well.
Higher ed marketers now have the tools to make high-quality college recruitment videos that actually attract new students by grabbing their attention.
There’s no contest between the two for a Gen Z student chasing that dream of their perfect-fit learning experience and new home.
You know that your in-person events like Open Days and Applicant Visit Days are the most effective tools for conversion – but have you considered making some of them virtual?
The aim of these virtual events is to connect with your students and create a sense of belonging – providing them reassurance and guidance on their Higher Education journey. That’s peer to peer in action, so making these events digital is a great way to get started with online peer to peer.
And across education and across all sectors, virtual events are replacing and complementing many events in the calendar. Why? Because when done well, they still deliver that experience – and offer even more that isn’t available offline: more depth and breadth of information, a truly personalised experience and a record of those important conversations.
And, it’s completely accessible. Unlike a traditional event which attracts anyone from within travel distance, a virtual event can bring in students from across the world – including countries you may never have recruited from before.
When the University of Exeter ran a fortnightly virtual drop-in, they were able to attract 8 times as many students as they could to their in-person events.
Emma Heady, Recruitment and Admissions Coordinator, said: “We’ve had a lot more students from overseas. Even for domestic students, Exeter can be a longer journey than getting to some other universities,. We were able to increase our accessibility via these online events with students being able to sign up moments before the start.”
Did you know that Unibuddy can power all of this, and more?