[dropcap]WOW,[/dropcap] has the college search and recruitment process changed since I earned my degree from PSU! My first born just closed up her junior year and happily declared herself a High School Senior. I don’t know whether to rejoice or cry—the latter for the price tag of her future college education.
12 – 24 Points of Contact Over Two Years
We began visiting colleges and attending “Junior Days” this past spring. Quite impressive with ultra-intelligent student panels, colorful climbing walls, talented tour guides who can walk backwards, talk and chew gum at the same time. Colleges are in the business to recruit the best students and do so by embarking on creative marketing campaigns like any other business. Traditional marketing methods are still used but now many rely on the power of social media channels, which helps target those students best suited for their campuses. One study cites a college that averages 12 to 24 points of contact over the course of two years to build meaningful relationships with prospective students. When considering PSU, I had zero contacts and a brief visit to campus with my Dad. Today, recruitment—involvement—engagement is the name of the game.
Social Media is the Ticket
Students require a quick and painless mechanism to create a list of ideal colleges. Using various online college search sites (e.g., https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/, www.zinch.com, www.cappex.com) is so much more efficient than perusing the four-inch thick “Big Book of Colleges” from my generation. Today’s student spends 10 minutes completing a profile, and voilà, ideal choices at your fingertips. This means my daughter has limitless information from many perspectives: admissions, professors, athletic coaches and current students. Social media is helping her build relationships and become a more informed consumer before making one of the biggest decisions of her life.
As a parent, and marketing professional, I feel that my daughter is more likely to make the right choice and ultimately graduate from the school she selects. Funny thing how “art imitates life”. Regardless of the communication venues, college planning and recruitment is a proactive and planned process…the better the plan the better the outcome!