It’s no surprise that, in recent years, the methods of student recruitment have changed dramatically as a result of the rise of mobile and video technology. But it’s not just the technology that’s different… The students are too!
The student recruiting environment is changing. Students are becoming more tech savvy and demanding of recruiters, which means that you need to adapt your strategy if you want to be successful.
If we look at some key trends in student recruitment, it's clear that the industry is experiencing some major shifts:
Traditional recruitment methods are no longer effective at bringing in new students. Students expect more than snail mail and phone calls when choosing where they want to attend college. They want social media platforms like Instagram and Snapchat as well as mobile apps that allow them to communicate with admissions counselors.
A common misconception is that students want automation and chatbots. The data disagrees. Poll after poll shows that Gen Z prefers face-to-face communication (read more in our 2023 Report). So how do you balance new technological methods while also catering to this desire for the human element?
Social media is a great way to create a personality for your school, but it is not a great lead generator or conversion tool. While social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram can be effective at making connections with potential students, they're not ideal for converting those connections into leads, especially when schools use them as their main source of recruitment. In fact, most people who visit these sites leave without taking any action whatsoever.
Pay-to-play data lists are also ineffective, since most students change their majors throughout college anyway (and therefore would no longer qualify). Paying for lists of prospects could be wasted money if you aren't targeting the right audience in the first place.
Virtual tours are effective but not as good as visiting campus in-person! Nothing beats seeing campus life firsthand through real experiences such as attending an open house or visiting during Admitted Student Days where you'll get to interact directly with staff and faculty.
The evidence becomes more and more clear. If you want to attract high-quality Gen Z students who will make a lasting impact on your campus community, you need to put in the work and have some personal contact with them.
At the end of the day, we want students to feel comfortable with their decision to attend our institutions. We want them to know that we'll be there for them when they need us and that we'll help them achieve their goals. Technologies will come and go, but as long as they remain personal and authentic, student recruitment teams will have the opportunity to succeed.