In a historically difficult time to be recruiting traditional undergraduate students—and in an especially difficult region of the country to be doing so—they’ve had tremendous success. How much success? They brought in the largest freshmen class in school history each of the last two years.
Like many folks in this line of work, I inquire at colleges and universities all over the country. This means I get viewbooks, postcards, brochures, emails, and all manner of other marketing collateral delivered to my home and office just about every single day.
Rarely do I see anything that’s objectively bad. Until, that is, application and visit season start up in the fall. Then things get dicey, not from a design or copywriting point of view necessarily, but from an actual marketing point of view.
And a few other uncomfortable observations about the relationship between marketing and enrollment, the budget, and who gets to spend it.
So let’s say this May has you falling short of your goals, and let’s say that trajectory continues, and come the first day of classes this fall, the numbers do end up being worse than you’d like. What can you do? How can you begin to turn the tide? First, it will help if you can fully embrace three fundamental truths about higher ed enrollment...
We’re basing the following insights on info we’ve gathered from our clients who represent a broad swath of institutions and who are diverse across a number of metrics (size, selectivity, geography, etc.).
Look, I know that’s a combative headline and maybe not the best way to kick things off, but please believe me when I say I’m not here to make you feel bad. Truly! In fact, I used to have your job, and I know how hard it is. Which means I know how (justifiably!) proud you are of your brand new dot edu.
Odds are that if you’re a higher ed enrollment or marketing professional, you’re probably pretty good at communicating with people, especially people who are enrolled in high school. In fact, “be an excellent communicator” was probably a baseline qualification—bullet point number one, in fact—for the job you currently have.
Everybody’s got a list of books they think you should read. Here’s mine. I put it together with the vast responsibilities (managing up, managing down, generating creative ideas, dealing with unholy amounts of stress, etc.) of today’s higher ed marketing and enrollment leaders in mind. I hope it helps.
This Sunday—despite near-historic levels of political unrest and national anxiety—over 100 million Americans will still gather around the old flat screen, nacho to nacho, and collectively engage in one of our most hallowed, patriotic pastimes: impetuously arguing over which Super Bowl commercials are pretty darn good and which ones …definitely aren’t.
While generating conversations with millions of prospective students is genuinely exciting and rewarding, it’s also a gargantuan undertaking that’s got us feeling pretty exhausted. But before we commence our recovery, we thought we’d share some of the best practices that have helped us execute successful search campaigns for the colleges and universities in the Waybetter family over the last decade. If you’re managing search in house, here’s where we’d start: