It’s no secret that the market for prospective students is more competitive than ever. There are so many different factors affecting college enrollment today — nontraditional students seeking flexible programs to study part-time while working full-time, an increase in diverse student populations leading to unique needs like additional financial aid, or a recent drop in international student applications to name a few.
Most of my career was spent preaching the value of, “liberal arts education for all,” while recruiting for my alma mater. Like many, I believe values such as critical thinking, inclusion, and effective communication are the bedrock of our democracy, and fostered by liberal arts institutions.
Embracing change has been a common theme in higher ed so far this year. Everybody’s talking about the work by a researcher out of Carleton College, who formulated the Higher Education Demand Index, or HEDI. In case you missed it, HEDI suggests enrollment, especially at less selective colleges, won’t survive a decline in degree-seeking students if they continue to ignore the data and turn to status quo solutions (e.g., engaging more target populations like veterans, out of state students, international students).
The Future of Graduate Enrollment
Graduate students are a huge, growing population, and a big revenue stream for colleges. However, they are changing ⎯ specifically with a shift from full-time enrolled to part-time students ⎯ and institutions have spent more time focusing on their initial recruitment rather than their continued success.
When I think about the pressures my colleagues in the Community College space are facing, my head starts to spin. The largest sector in higher education is composed of community colleges that serve undergraduate student populations. In fact, according to the College Board approximately 42% of all undergraduate students, many with part-time status, attend a community college.
In today’s world, earning a graduate degree or certificate is seen as the path to success and advancement. But graduate recruiting practices have not kept pace with the realities of who today’s graduate students are.Competition for students is fierce and potentially lucrative, yet many admissions offices utilize outdated recruitment practices designed to attract only the type of prospects we traditionally think of as graduate students.
Last week, there was great discussion around the insights shared in The Chronicle of Higher Education’s article “Colleges Use Facebook Ads to Target Applicants, Parents, and Lawmakers”. This discussion prompted several thought leaders in the Higher Education space to weigh in on the matter, including a good friend of TargetX, Gil Rogers, Director of Marketing for the National Research Center for College & University Admissions™ (NRCCUA®).
Higher Education recruitment methods are changing as the landscape for social media platforms become more and more relevant. This article states that “It’s [Facebook] an emerging battleground in higher education’s competition for students, whether at elite public flagships or for-profit colleges.” With prospective students becoming more accustomed to advertising through digital and social outlets, one might wonder how this is not used by every institution.
Eleanor Roosevelt said, “You must do the things you think you cannot do.” I heard this quote from a customer of mine while working as a General Manager for a retail store. We were casually talking about a product when she asked if I had a college degree.
Shalese Cordon is an Implementation Consultant at TargetX and works out of our Philadelphia, PA office. We sat down with Shalese this month to learn more about her higher ed experience before TargetX and what her role as an Implementation Consultant entails.