As summer transitions to autumn, another recruitment cycle begins for higher ed admissions offices. Institutions send staff out to high schools, college fairs, recruitment events, and more in hopes of identifying the students who will one day grace their campus. As The New York Times points out, admission rates have dropped multiple years in a row. As this trend continues, recruiting students has become increasingly more competitive.
Let’s explore a few ways your road warriors can make an even bigger difference when out representing your institution.
Do your research when traveling to new territories
Not only is it important for you to be familiar with the “lay of the land” when traveling, making yourself aware of local traditions, experiences, and opportunities can help you build affinity with students, as well as local guidance counselors who are often the gatekeeper between you and potential recruits.
Ask lots of questions. Whether you’re talking with someone at a school you’re planning to visit or just having a discussion in the lobby of your hotel, tapping into local knowledge is helpful. When chatting with potential students, inquire about their interests, things they love about their hometown, and more. The further your institution is from their home, the more important it is to make connections that will ease the possible concern of a new cultural experience when recruiting students.
Bring students into the experience of life on the road
While students may appreciate that your road warriors set a table up in the commons during their lunch time or scheduled a time with their guidance counselor, not all students understand the commitment admission counselors make to cultivating each new class. Encourage your road warriors to document their experience.
Platforms like Covideo are fantastic for providing an authentic, yet personalized connection. Admission counselors can create a quick personalized video in seconds which they can share with a recruit. A quick video from their rental car once they’ve entered a potential student’s town or even a post-conversation video that thanks the student and references something specific the two discussed can take the process to the next level when recruiting students.
Tap into ambassadors when recruiting students
Whether getting engagement from current students on campus who can advocate for the college experience they’re having or reaching out to local alumni in a road warrior’s territory, additional voices echoing the sentiment your team is pushing can only help. Current students can often speak to the day-to-day experience (the emotional element of the college search process). Alumni can speak to career opportunities or degree options (the logical aspect of the college search process).
Inside Higher Ed notes on recruiting students, “As colleges and universities grapple with the challenges of shifting demographics, institutions should consider whether they are leveraging alumni to strategically support student recruitment and retention.”
The recruitment cycle starts earlier each year with younger and younger student populations; however, for rising high school seniors going through a traditional recruitment process, road warriors are often the first personal contact these students have with your institution. Nurturing these relationships requires empathy, understanding a student’s hometown, speaking to them individually to address important areas of interest or concern, and then connecting them to the many other individuals who have traveled the path they’re on.
Interested in additional tips for recruiting students with a personalized, direct approach? Get in touch with one of our higher education experts today!