College Recruitment Strategies to Reach Today’s Students

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Make Your University a Top Pick and Boost Student Enrollment

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In the perpetually evolving landscape of higher education, all college admissions teams face the same underlying challenge: grabbing the attention of prospective students.

Gone are the days when traditional college recruitment strategies did the trick. Now, it’s all about being creative with your communications and adapting to what appeals to this generation. 

Today's college recruiting strategies require a blended approach of using both online and offline touchpoints to be effective. A cohesive communications strategy is essential for building connections with potential students in ways that resonate deeply with their interests and ambitions.

5 College Recruiting Strategies That Resonate with Students

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To remain competitive and relevant among prospective college students, higher education institutions must reimagine their approach toward engaging with potential enrollees. To help inspire your admissions teams with creative ideas, incorporate some of these college recruitment strategies into your efforts.

1. Create a Campus Story that Inspires

Creating a campus story that sells is more than just listing achievements and facilities; it's about weaving a narrative that captures the heart and soul of your college's culture. This story should highlight what makes your campus unique, from its academic programs to community spirit. It sets the stage for every other strategy, guiding how you present yourself across all platforms.

When this compelling narrative is established, it naturally informs the type of content you share on social media. Stories of student successes, vibrant campus life, and innovative projects not only showcase what's possible but also ignite interest among potential students. They see themselves as part of this story—motivated by what they could achieve and experience.

Moreover, having a strong campus narrative ensures consistency in your school’s marketing campaigns. Whether through advertising or direct outreach efforts, each message reinforces why your institution stands out. This coherence helps build trust with prospective students and their families, making them more likely to consider your college as their top choice.

2. Connect with Students on Social Media

Leveraging social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram is crucial for connecting with today's students. These platforms are where potential students spend a significant portion of their time, making them ideal channels for engagement. By sharing content that showcases campus life, extracurricular activities, and success stories, colleges can create a relatable and aspirational image.

Content that resonates on these platforms often includes behind-the-scenes looks at college events, student-led tours highlighting unique campus spots, or tips on succeeding academically and socially. Such content not only entertains but also educates prospective students about the value your institution offers beyond the classroom.

The Ohio State University stands as a prime example of how to effectively leverage TikTok for college recruitment. Boasting over 200K followers, OSU’s TikTok account eclipses the follower count of the average Division I school by fifteen times. 

This success is attributed not just to its large audience but also to remarkable engagement levels, with OSU's videos often achieving significantly higher interaction rates than those of its peers. Their strategy hinges on frequent posting—about four times more often than other D1 schools—and content that resonates deeply with their audience's values and interests, particularly in celebrating OSU’s rich athletic legacy.

Ohio State’s approach demonstrates the power of understanding your institution's unique story and what captivates your prospective students. By aligning their content with trends and maintaining a robust presence on the platform through both quality and quantity, they've set a benchmark in engaging potential students via social media.

3. Utilize Student Ambassadors

Utilizing student ambassadors is a powerful strategy in college admissions recruitment, offering an authentic glimpse into the campus experience through the eyes of current students. These ambassadors can share their personal stories, challenges overcome, and successes achieved during their time at the institution. Their firsthand experiences provide valuable insights that resonate with prospective students, helping them envision themselves as part of the campus community.

Digital platforms amplify these voices further by reaching a wider audience. Student ambassadors can take over college social media accounts for a day to showcase daily life on campus or participate in Q&A sessions where potential applicants ask questions about student life. This digital engagement creates a direct line of communication between current and prospective students, fostering a sense of belonging even before acceptance letters are sent out.

In-person interactions remain equally crucial. Through events like open houses, campus tours, and college fairs, student ambassadors serve as the face of your institution—guiding tours, sharing experiences, and answering questions from visitors and families considering your school. The authenticity and enthusiasm of peer-to-peer conversations cannot be understated; they play a significant role in shaping perceptions about your institution's environment and community.

4. Implement Effective Follow-Up Processes

Implementing a strategic set of follow-up processes stands as a cornerstone strategy in bolstering recruitment success. The utilization of diverse communication methods, such as emailing, texting, and calling, plays a pivotal role in this context. By engaging prospects through multiple channels, recruiters can significantly enhance their outreach's effectiveness.

This multi-pronged approach ensures that the message reaches candidates in the manner most convenient for them, thereby increasing the likelihood of engagement. Email allows for detailed information sharing; texts offer immediacy; calls add a personal touch that can solidify interest. Together, these methods create a robust follow-up strategy that caters to varied preferences among prospects.

The importance of this strategy cannot be overstated—it bridges gaps between initial contact and successful recruitment by maintaining consistent and tailored communication with potential candidates. This not only improves the candidate experience but also maximizes the chances of converting prospects into active participants in the recruitment process.

But there's one additional ingredient that can substantiate value to any college student recruitment strategy. And that's leveraging the element of surprise.

5. Leverage Tangible College Recruiting Giveaways

Leveraging tangible college recruiting giveaways presents a timeless and effective strategy for engaging with prospective students. Notably, innovative solutions like BookWear have revolutionized how universities connect with their audience. These book-like mailers, concealing surprises such as recruiting gifts inside, offer an element of intrigue and delight that is particularly resonant among the college demographic.

The impact of receiving a physical item cannot be underestimated; it creates a memorable experience that digital communications often fail to replicate. The surprise tucked within these unique packages captivates attention, ensuring the university's message is not only received but also remembered. This tactile approach adds depth to recruitment efforts by providing something tangible for prospects to associate with the institution.

Universities collaborating with BookWear benefit from this strategic advantage—it sets them apart in the crowded landscape of college recruitment. The success stories stemming from countless institutions attest to its effectiveness in capturing interest and fostering engagement among potential students. In essence, leveraging tangible giveaways through creative mediums like BookWear remains a proven method for enhancing visibility and appeal in collegiate recruiting initiatives.

How BookWear Empowers College Recruiting Strategies

students wearing custom printed blue bookwear tees on campus

‍Today’s college student was virtually born with a smartphone in their pocket. Smartphones and computers are ubiquitous, and so are messages via these devices. To engage with a college student and truly earn their attention, today’s college admissions departments need to differentiate their student recruitment strategy.

The most engaging and effective college student recruiting strategies are “novel,” tangible, creative, and surprising. BookWear has, literally, all of those features.

BookWear is a little package that looks like a book with your photos and messages custom-printed on the cover. This “book,” which, can be mailed like a thick postcard, contains a surprise gift inside that’s customized with your college’s logo. Using recruiting gifts from BookWear can significantly empower your recruitment strategy.

Imagine your recruiting effectiveness when a prospective college student receives your “book” with “Congratulations on Your Acceptance” and photos of your campus on the cover. There’s accompanying text to highlight your programs and features, and the prospect’s full attention is on your message!

College students are compelled to read your message and open the package. The open rate of BookWear is huge, and so is the conversion rate. Inside is your custom gift which has your logo on it. Every time a student uses the gift, they’re reminded of your college campus and your message.

Some of the most effective college recruiting strategies with BookWear use T-shirts as gifts. When students wear their shirts, they start identifying with your college or university. Additionally, your college recruiting efforts are multiplied as your fellow peers acknowledge their friends’ connection with your college.

Investing in BookWear offers one of the most effective recruiting strategies.

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