According to Forbes, most of the top universities in the US (which is home to some of the highest-ranking universities in the world) are looking at a 25% drop in international student enrollment in this academic year. What seems like a sizable fall is expected to have far-reaching financial consequences (to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars). Targeted student outreach is the need of the hour.
Back home in India, parents and students are concerned. As per Univariety’s 2020 college shortlist, 8,000 High School students from over 300 Schools harbored dreams of studying abroad. Their future of course is uncertain at this point.
Sangeetha George, Head of Career Counseling at Univariety shares that there is a serious dilemma in the minds of parents and students. It is not a simple decision for families to drop plans of studying abroad. They have to re-orient themselves to the strong possibility of studying in India, which was not their plan all along. We are now helping hundreds of families evaluate their options in India’.
Paradigm Shift in Outreach & Recruitment:
Adapt or Perish
As the year unfolds, one thing is certain: Universities need to be agile and adapt quickly to new methods of reaching prospective students.
Traditional methods of Student outreach have transformed overnight. While Digital outreach has been a strong channel of outreach, it is now the ONLY channel.
But Digital outreach often yields large numbers with very narrow funnels of conversion. Universities need to be very careful where and how they invest. A large number of leads DOES NOT MEAN BETTER CONVERSION RATES.
5 Ways To Strengthen Your Digital Outreach Effort:
Sharper targeting & communication
The current scenario for 2020 has created a narrow window of opportunity for Universities. Institutions are focusing on channels that give them highly interested students that are likely to convert into applications and enrollments in a shorter amount of time. This is literally the holy grail for Student Recruitment. It is certainly not easy, but it is being done. The trick lies in embracing channels and partners that already engage with a certain quality of audience.
Click here to know how you can reach Univariety’s 75,000 students from 350 of India’s most prominent High Schools.
Once you have identified the target audience, address their specific needs and concerns. Let them know that you know their dilemmas and have a solution.
Categorise your Target Audience based on demographics, motivations, and aspirations, and then create messaging that positions your University as the best-fit option for them.
Offer a Virtual Experience
Universities have to work a little harder to showcase their infrastructure and teaching to prospective students. And there is plenty of technology to enable both. Virtual Campus tours are being offered by Universities like Ashoka, Amity and many others.
The important thing is to position these tours to students and parents and make an event-like experience out of them. Schedule tours with live walk-throughs so they can get a feel of being actively engaged, instead of just viewing a pre-recorded video.
This is a great opportunity to schedule experiential learning classes for prospective students. How about a Psychology 101 for high school students conducted by your faculty? Or a 45 minute certificate workshop on design which helps students add to their portfolio?
Univariety curates online learning classes and workshops with Universities to offer them to both High School students and over 60,000 undergraduate students.
It’s raining Webinars, and rightly so!
According to insidesales.com, 73% of marketing and sales leaders say that webinars are an effective way to generate high-quality leads
There is a Digital Awakening, don’t fight it. Embrace it! Yes it is raining webinars, and we suggest you get with the program. Globally, various sectors have used Webinars successfully to engage with their audiences. Webinars are especially conducive to the space of Education. The challenge has always been our audience not being receptive enough to digital dialogue. Well, that is not such a challenge anymore. With online classes becoming the norm, students and parents are now fully acclimated to online learning and engagement.
Since April 2020, Univariety has conducted over 150 webinars, with over 6500 unique students and parents in attendance. Over 63% of them have attended at least 2 webinars in the past 3 months.
Do NOT ignore the parents:
Quite often, Universities focus on interacting with students and counselors for a longer period of time with parents coming into the picture only much later.
Univariety’s Parent Engagement involves students in the entire process of career and college selection from the word go.
This does 2 things:
- Ensures that parents, who are the key decision makers have an early buy-in for your University
- Allows you to thoroughly understand the socio-economic motivations and constraints of prospective applicants.
Digitally engage with School Leaders & Counselors:
Thousands of overwhelmed parents are reaching out to either Counselors and or their School principals and teachers for advice. While school workshops and visits seem like a distant dream for a better part of 2020, you can still maintain and grow your School network.
For example, Univariety has helped partner Universities plan their Digital School outreach programs for 2021. With School specific online sessions and one on one meetings with principals and counselors, 2021 will not be bleak for school relationships. Not if we can help it.