EDU Internet Strategies college or university website and marketing firm
EDU Internet Strategies | +1- | 1350 Edgmont Ave. Suite 1100 | Chester, PA 19013 |

Higher Education Marketing Services


Trends in Education and Web Recruiting

It is no secret that the Internet has changed life as we once knew it. Today's population is more dependent on the Internet for basic everyday living than anyone ever imagined. Everything from banking to education can now be accomplished from the comfort of home, and it has been up to service providers to keep up with the increasing technological demands of the public. Colleges and universities have been forced to jump on the Internet revolution bandwagon to aggressively recruit potential students.

Thanks to the technological revolution and the birth of the popular Internet in the 1990's, today's youth are tech savvy and have easier access to research utilities than their older siblings and parents did. High school students often begin their college searches based on broad criteria, such as geographic area or major, and then research schools in that area or that have a particular major, often comparing several based on location, class size, ranking of the program, and the school's academic reputation. Students no longer wait for schools to send them information based on their PSAT or SAT scores or personal requests; students are actively recruiting schools, turning the tables on tradition and long-accepted practices.

In order to keep up with the trend in students recruiting higher education opportunities, administrators have had to rearrange some of their priorities when it comes to drawing students into their schools and programs. Gone are the days when campus guidebooks were sufficient information to keep students interested in attending certain schools. Administrators are being forced more frequently to rely on increasingly modern conventions, such as email recruiting, interactive online chats, and most importantly, the attraction of their college website.

The attention span of students has shrunk in the technological age, and this resonates with students looking to find schools online. The average teenager spends less than 60 seconds perusing a website, and that is all the time that administrators and recruiters have to capture the attention of their potential incoming freshman applicants. School administrators have come to realize that it is not necessarily the flashiness of the site that draws an audience, but ease of navigation carries the most importance to potential students. If that student is unable to locate the information for which he or she is looking in under one minute, it is probable that he or she will move onto another school's site. The student is unlikely to return to that website because of the difficulty of navigation, which translates to program recruiters as a lost student prospect.

How can schools capitalize on high school students and this short attention span when trying to recruit for their programs? Colleges and universities have begun to shift toward interactive recruitment solutions. These solutions incorporate the instant gratification of Internet resources with old-fashioned "paper" recruitment. This interactive recruiting process begins with the school or department website, and continues through the steps of:

      Registration and email inquiry
      Ongoing student dialogue, campus visits, phone outreach, and mailings
      Email marketing
      Student enrollment

A combination of online and traditional recruitment means can be found in a 'perfect' interactive recruiting system, allowing outreach to every potential student.

A student's initial contact with a school administrator can make or break that relationship, and it is a fine line on which all administrators walk. The ultimate goal is to successfully communicate with the student from the inquiry process to the application process to enrollment through to graduation from the college or university. While that is not always the end result, it is the desired outcome.

Administrators have several tools in the battle to successfully recruit and retain students, the most effective being personalization of messages, particularly during the early stages of the relationship. Canned email messages with no personalization are often unopened, half-read, or deleted before they even reach an email inbox. Recruitment retention can be as simple as a subject line that reads, 'Thank you for your interest in XYZ University!' and contains information in the body of the email for the next steps in the application process for that school.

The core elements of student recruiting have remained largely unchanged; the difference lies in how that recruitment is accomplished and how students are driven through the recruitment and admissions process. Emails have replaced letters, PDF files have replaced applications, and websites are the guidebooks of the 21st century. Perhaps the most important factor to take into consideration when examining a college homepage is that websites are marketing tools, not software programs. Keeping that fundamental in mind when considering student recruiting will assist administrators in attracting the best students for their programs.

EDU Internet Strategies college or university website and marketing firm