Marketing in higher education is rapidly shifting as prospective students’ needs and goals evolve. Prospective students are becoming more concerned about high levels of debt, as a result, they are savvier when making decisions, and institutions need to increase student engagement.
They are spending more time on websites and other self-service tools before reaching out to schools. This self-directed behavior has given rise to further personalization and mass customization of enrollment materials during the admissions process.
The best way to address these trends is to begin to create meaningful conversations with prospective students, particularly about their career goals.
Prospective students are increasingly saying: “I want the conversation to be about me.” If your school’s messaging is focusing on the school, it’s programming, and flexible class structure, you are missing a key opportunity for student engagement.
If you only speak about what the school offers, you will miss an opportunity to talk to students personally about their goals. For most students, their goal is not to go to school. Instead, it is to better their career prospects.
They want to understand how an education could help them get a job, what that job would look like, and how much it would pay. Enrollment offices seeking to see increase engagement throughout the funnel should be starting to gather data to enable them to have these conversations.
Step 1: Gather more Data about your Prospective Students
Right now you are probably gathering the following information about your prospective students:
- Phone number
- Education History
- Desired Major
- Engagement with marketing materials
You probably aren’t gathering:
- Level of interest in various programs
- Career goal
- Reason for going back to school
The most difficult part about gathering this data about students is that they often don’t have clear ideas about them. In fact, 50% of students don’t know what degree or career they’d like to pursue. Of the 50% that have some idea, half will change their mind in college.
The majority of prospective students don’t know how you can help them. But, that is your opportunity. Stand out by being the school that provides students with the guidance they actually need.
Use personalized career assessments or other digital surveys to begin to gather the data. If your school has enough admissions advisors or career services counselors, you could seek to have these conversations by phone, instead.
Once you’ve completed this process, you’ll have data about your prospective students that other schools do nott. This data will help your school stand out by allowing you to provide personalized content for prospective students.
Step 2: Provide Personalized Career Content
Now that you have some idea of a student’s ideal degree and career, you can have a conversation with them about why they should enroll at your school. They’ll want content about:
- Degree program information
- Job profiles
- Regional career earnings
- Return on investment
- Path to completion
- Path through the career
It’s a lot of content to build. While you likely have an abundance of degree information, it can be challenging to effectively link degree data with the careers they can lead too.
But by putting this information together, you are able to provide an invaluable service to prospective students, helping them determine their educational goals while also demonstrating how a program at your school will help them to meet those goals.
By doing this, you’ve:
- Created a deeper emotional connection with the student by showing you care about their needs
- Created a clear rationale to why your school is the best for them
Personalized Career Pathing
If this is this is an approach that you think could help increase your enrollment numbers, you may consider using career pathing software to pull all the steps together for you. Career pathing software, like Awato, pulls all of these steps together into one flow.
Awato’s Pathways Page:
It does this in three steps:
- It provides the assessment interface to gather data about prospective students
- It compiles all of your degree content with career outcomes and provides recommendations to students
- Finally, it links with your CRM or SIS system to link all of this new data to their student record
If you’ve wondered how you could personally answer students top questions like:
- Do you offer something that I’m interested in?
- How will I get a career if I do that?
- What will that career pay?
- Is this degree worth it?
- Can I afford it?
Awato Financial Comparison Page:
It is the time to learn more about what career pathing software can do for your enrollment process. If you are interested in learning more, schedule a time to learn from one of our reps below: