The expressions of anxious mothers, too-cool freshmen and a steady train of boxes into residence halls this week heralds the arrival of thousands of new students to our universities. Having recently returned from work with a university in Europe, I can report that university orientation norms like these are very similar wherever you go.
As recruitment offices, we are quickly shifting to efforts to recruit our class of 2015. As you do so, I thought that a quick summary of the 2014 Noel Levitz E-Expectations survey would be a helpful way to refocus your efforts. While a full read of the report is highly advisable (E-Expectations Report) , here is a quick list of the insights which should influence your efforts:
- Parents are important. VERY important! About 3 out of 4 high school seniors list their parents as having the greatest influence on their college choice.
- Web sites are critical! As the most important recruitment resource, the importance of your recruitment web site is paramount! Programs, costs and financial awards are the top three things they look for. Furthermore, mobile-friendly browsing is important as 40% of student state that they use their mobile phone browser for nearly all of their web browsing. Less than 10% of students rarely use their mobile device for browsing.
- Texting is becoming acceptable. About half of your recruits are fine with texting as a means of college communication. Similarly, 55% of parents are willing to receive college texts.
- Use many social media channels. Prospective students are active on Facebook (74%), YouTube (73%), Instagram (49%), Twitter (39%) and Snapchat (39%).
- Invest in your campus visit program! Three out of four students and parents agree with the statement that “schools should put more effort into getting prospective students to campus for visits and admissions events”.
- Tie education to careers. Students and parents want to see that their program has career value. Ensure you provide stats on job/graduate school placement, testimonials (current students, alumni, and faculty) and have robust program information.
I wish you success in your recruitment efforts this year!
Noel-Levitz (2014). 2014 E-Expectations Report: The Online Preferences of College-Bound Seniors and Their Parents. Available at https://www.noellevitz.com/papers-research-higher-education/2014/2014-e-expectations-report