The easy answer here is, you should always be reaching out to students. However, depending on the time of year, there are some efforts you should be focusing more on that others.
The summer season is for the transition from Junior to Senior, and for college tours, jobs, internships, application essays, financial aid, and letters of recommendations. For your traditional student, these are their concerns.
The best way to reach them during this time?
*85% of Gen Z learns about new products (your school) via social media and 63% of them prefers seeing “real people” in advertisements. Use video interviews via Facebook Live from your new freshmen on why they’re glad they chose your school.
The new generation tests everything online before they jump in to RL (real life). A 360 tour of the grounds and “feel” of the school is a great way to meet them where they are and to show their parents you value their consideration even before they arrive. You’re saving them money by showing them before they spend the money to come all the way to your school.
Up to a whopping *50% of applicants are the first generation going to attend college. The process of applying and being accepted is intimidating for those who don’t know what to expect, and many students now prefer to limit face-to-face interaction.
Make your resources OBVIOUS and easily accessible on the web and mobile about what to expect.
*80% of Gen Z consumes content via mobile video, more than any other type of content. Work with one of your students to create a walk-through of the financial aid process. Prospective students can relate easier to one of their own and having someone who’s already gone through it helps to make prospective students more comfortable.
Now it’s fall and the time that Seniors had to devote to the school search is now devoted to keeping their grades up, taking the SAT and/or ACT, submitting college and scholarship applications, and making sure that they’ve met their graduation requirements.
How can you stay top of mind and make the process easier when they’re already so busy and overwhelmed? Here are some tips for this time of year.
Your student prospect is overwhelmed, sending the right text at the right time can make all the difference in response rates. Have a student or counselor reach out to the prospective student, see how they’re doing, and give them reminders and support.
Example: “Hey! How’s it going? The FAFSA deadline is coming up and I wanted to check in on how you were doing with the whole process.”
“We see you submitted XYZ, have a coupon to Starbucks on us!” Reward systems help even adults accomplish their goals. Don’t underestimate their power.
There’s two groups of people during Spring. Those who are awaiting to hear from the colleges they applied to and those Juniors who are starting to think about colleges and are taking SAT’s getting ready for their senior year. There is a way to reach the two; however, their needs are going to be very different.
They are starting to collect their information. Sharing the school culture and likelihood of admittance will help Juniors to decide whether they’re moving forward with one school or another.
Have a current student lay out what the junior would need to do in the coming months. This is a great way to get those, “Wish I had known this” moments from your current students and improve the process for those prospects.
If your college awards “pre-scholarships” to Juniors based on their early test scores and GPAs, then you might invite these students and their parents to a Junior Scholars Day that’s just for them. Let them see first-hand what it means to be a student at your school. Use this as an opportunity to solidify their interest in your institution and show them what you’re all about.
Your incoming freshman want to see themselves at your school. They want to know what a day looks like and be comfortable in that routine.
Have a current student take over the school’s Instagram account for a day. Posting the stories and highlights from a typical day in college so the incoming freshman can get a feel for what their days are going to look like.
Have a time that’s just open for questions, concerns, parents – for all of it! This is customer service and is crucial for those first-time parents – we mean students…
The main thing here is to have a plan for the different seasons of the college search journey. Be creative! Use your #1 resource available to you…your current students. You probably have those immensely passionate student tour guides and admissions ambassadors who are teeming with ideas. Pull them together in a big brainstorming session and find out what they wish they would have known or experienced during their recruitment process. In a time where many colleges seem to be doing the same thing to reach out to prospects, try something different.