Recession Woes in Recruting? Get Personal with Prospective Students

As the economy continues to affect the ability of prospective international students (and domestic students for that matter) to afford tuition, we all know how important it is to turn as many accepted students as possible into deposits. NPR has an ongoing series this week investigating the impact of the economy on higher education. One of the pieces titled, Colleges Work Harder to Lure New Students shows how some schools are employing traditional marketing initiatives to create personal connections with accepted students.

Let’s take a look at one of the techniques described in this article and see how we might be able to enhance it through the use of social media!

Becker College in Worcester, MA is having a group of freshman students call prospective students encouraging them to apply to the school as well as calling accepted students and selling them on enrolling in the school. This is an absolutely great idea because it is all about creating personal connections. Current students are able to answer any questions the prospective student may have about the social life, academics, ect. while being able to have a great impact on the decision making of the student due to their ability to easily relate to one another as students.

So how can we take this model and potentially make it more effective? The millennial generation prospective student thrives off of personal connection. If you don’t believe me ask one of your students how many friends they have on Facebook, AIM, MSN Instant Messenger, cell phone book and so on. These millennials love to interact quickly whether it is a status update on Facebook, a wall post on Facebook, text message, a chat conversation on AIM, etc.

So if this is the type of conversation that these prospective students embrace why not get in touch with them this way as well as over the phone?

One idea is to continue leveraging the ability of your current students to personally connect with your prospective students via social networks. Have your current students ‘friend’ these prospective students on Facebook and Orkut and begin conversations that way. This medium of connection can prove to be so much more effective becuase not only can students verbally interact but they can share links to blogs, videos, podcasts, websites, Facebook page, online applicatoin and any other convincing material you want to share with prospective students.

It’s also important to understand how effective the results can be when we the admissions office take the initiative to get in touch with students! Think about this point when you are creating your Facebook page, YouTube channel, podcast page, blog and aren’t getting the results that you expected.

In order to achieve results we need to take the initiative to get in touch with our audience! If we can take anything away from this difficult recessionary period it should be to realize how effective our recruiting can be when we make an effort to get personal with our prospective students!

Photo by Aussiegall

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