On the Road Again: Top Approaches to Consider for Your Recruiting
Recruiting in-person. It feels good to everyone who loves that personal engagement with students. That’s not to give a nod to what was learned when it wasn’t possible. Incorporating virtual meetings and heavy online marketing to attract and engage college-bound students over the past few years has been adopted as an integral part of many recruitment strategies. Considering all that has changed, what does a targeted recruitment plan look like today?
Given the 4.1% drop in college enrollment1 since 2021, reimagining the college experience could help recruiters. How can recruiters bring college to life for these students?
Parchment knows how gratifying connecting with students is for recruiters and balancing those interactions with achieving a higher return on investment. Optimize your efforts with some suggestions to make your year-long plan focused on connecting with best-fit students.
Top tools and tactics for greater reach
Recruiting today requires a new playbook that uses the digital tools and networking opportunities at your disposal to attract a new generation of students.
Being present on popular social media platforms like YouTube, TikTok and Instagram2 allows you to connect with prospective students more effectively. According to panelists on a Times Higher Education Masterclass, TikTok has been instrumental in reaching prospective students.
Early-decision territories are still a rich field for face-to-face meetings, and should be prioritized for recruitment travel. If your institution has a heavy lean toward early-decision acceptances in recent years, in-person recruiting is a must for you.
Recruiting together with other institutions — a consortium approach — is a cost-effective way for smaller, regionally-focused, non-compete institutions to send recruiters together, cross-promote events, share in coordination and open doors to new students.
Although the original in-person recruiting tools have undergone some tweaks, several constants still remain and should be factored in while you’re on the road.
Innovative ways to engage students
The days of online recruitment sessions are here to stay. However, schools continue to host standing-room-only events and group campus tours successfully as well. Know your audience and what they hope to get out of a self-guided virtual tour or arrange a diversity, equity and inclusion panel as DE&I becomes an increasingly important topic across all demographics.
Here are a few ideas to develop strong student connections before, during and after recruiters are on the road:
- Create materials that address general questions of students who have been online learners about what to expect visiting a college campus, how financial aid works and what records students need to order for their college applications.
- Make several points of connection — by email, online and over the phone — before you meet high-interest students in person.
- Automate your email communications with counselors and include helpful information — instructions and where to send records — transcripts, achievements and recommendations — that they can pass along to students easily.
- Target areas with populations you were unable to reach on previous trips — international and diverse students.
- Make time for first-generation students who may need more hands-on attention than another student who has one parent or guardian who attended college.
- Offer in-person meetings that are conveniently located for underserved students and families who might not have the digital or physical bandwidth to attend a virtual event or a big-city college fair.
Parchment Recruit is a powerful tool for college admissions and enrollment officers who want to maximize their visits. You can find new schools and districts that your peers are having success recruiting at and help flag which current feeder schools you can improve your recruiting efforts. With Parchment Recruit, you can form an effective plan to build and strengthen connections based on region — making the most out of your time and budget.