The year 2020 saw us tackle many challenges. The pandemic has impacted our everyday way of life. Many organizations and businesses had to drastically change the way they worked and the education industry was no exception.
One of the major challenges many institutes have been facing is the declining admission rates. Last year the admission rates fell as low as 4.4% and have been declining ever since!
The declining rates have made the race to the admission finish line very difficult and made the competition more fierce. On top of that, with work from home in play, traditional recruitment strategies like Face-to-face techniques, open days and fairs, are now becoming redundant if not extinct.
Online and e-recruitment strategies are quickly becoming the most successful ways to engage with prospective students. These methods become even more important when institutes want to recruit students internationally!
But, What is a Student Recruitment Strategy, and Why do you need it?
Every education institute has some set student recruitment objectives. These objectives are well defined, based on the institution’s vision, goals, and data from past recruitment initiatives.
A student recruitment strategy is a blueprint or plan of action to execute these recruitment objectives. Ideally, these strategies are also backed with an implementation plan and a set of tools that will help in the implementation.
Having an effective recruitment strategy helps cut through the competition and recruit the right students. The online world has become overcrowded with everything going remote and you need smart student recruitment strategies to stand out.
After all, the goal of any educational institution is that of the many options readily available, the prospective students come to you first!
4 Student Recruitment Strategies you Should Follow
Make your Presence Heard Online
With the entire world shifting to a remote way of working and currently practising social distancing, many of the offline student recruiting events have been postponed or cancelled.
It’s not news that the gen Zs are hooked to the internet and do most of their activities online. Social media platforms are where most of your prospective students live, 24/7. Researching for the education institutions that best match their expectations are no different.
So why not be where your prospective students are and use social media to your advantage! The institutes that are consistent with their marketing strategies are seeing the highest success in their recruitment goals.
More and more education institutions are realizing the importance of online marketing strategies and have increased their marketing spend. According to research, the Facebook marketing spend increased to 7% in the pandemic, where the average Facebook ads spend was $131,402 per institution or about $54,000 per month.
Be creative with your social media campaigns, personalize your content and optimize it for better online visibility.
Ensure Timely Engagement with Communication Channels that your Students Prefer
Gen Zs are curious folks. They love researching and prefer to make informed decisions about their education. This is a critical time for educational institutions to engage with their prospective students to ensure that they choose their institute over others.
Timely engagement is important but using the right communication channel is equally important! As the physical space is becoming increasingly restricted, digital modes of communication offer a great opportunity for direct access to prospective students and their families.
Here are some of the trending communication channels you can use to engage your students:
Email marketing continues to be one of the top ways to engage with your prospective students. According to a study, nearly 68 percent of teens and 73 percent of Millennials still prefer to receive communication from a business via email.
You can come up with a weekly newsletter that answers their frequently asked questions or send updates about the admission timeline, send out the latest education trends and alumni success stories etc.
Another medium of communication that is becoming popular is WhatsApp. Compared to other platforms, it has better reach and higher open rates! Where emails have an open rate of 21%, WhatsApp has a whopping above 90% open rate, that too within 5 min of sending the message.
You can also do video calls to have one-on-one counselling sessions with prospective students to answer their queries, help them with their anxieties or conduct virtual tours by sharing the institute’s video on the call.
Kickstart a Student Ambassador Program
Your student recruitment strategies must also include getting help from your current students and taking support from the past— i.e. your alumni. A student ambassador program is a great way to get your prospective student interested in your education institute.
There are two ways you can make use of your student ambassador program:
Harness the power of your current students
You can harness the influence of your current students, who can act as the best advocates for your institute. They can share their experiences, talk about the unique characteristics of your institute and share interesting tidbits with prospective students.
Your student Ambassadors can help you in a variety of activities — these include calling or emailing candidates, helping out in virtual campus tours, answering the typical Q&As of your prospects and their families etc. They also stay in touch with newly admitted students throughout the enrollment process.
Leverage the influence of your alumni
Your alumnus can too make an impact on your student recruitment process. You can create alumni buddy programs to help nurture your prospective students, by holding peer-to-peer information sharing sessions. Having your alumni discuss the brochure, give introductory sessions or answer some of the career-related questions can bring more authenticity to your recruitment process
You can also leverage your star alumni with exceptional careers to create testimonial videos that you can share across your various communication channels. They can give motivational talks, discuss potential career prospects through your institute and talk about what they did to reach where they are today.
Give the Right Tools to your Team
To ensure that your student recruitment activities are successful, you need to give your admission teams the right tools to manage their leads & communicate with prospects effectively. Managing large amounts of leads is an uphill climb in itself and it gets tougher when working remotely.
With the help of an admission CRM designed for the education industry, which is also mobile-friendly, you will be able to execute your finely tuned student recruitment strategies effectively.
What’s more, with a good CRM software, you can execute the above-mentioned strategies more efficiently. Having a good admissions CRM at your disposal will enable you to meet – and even surpass – your enrollment goals.
To create a well thought out student recruitment strategy that attracts the right students to your institute and ensures that they choose you, you need to think like your prospective students. You need to keep track of the current trends and connect with your students at a more personal level.
At the same time, you should equip your admissions team with the tools they need to do their job remotely. Without the right CRM software system in place, implementing your student recruitment strategies will be challenging and time-consuming!