The old ways of attracting prospective students aren’t working

Approximately 86% of higher education leaders are concerned about meeting their enrollment goals.

With the 2020 pandemic interrupting college searches, counselor meetings, and in-person visits, your strategies for attracting and engaging prospective students must adapt.

Shrinking pool of college-going students

Over the past eight years, college enrollment has dropped by roughly 12%. Students are concerned about rising college costs, and the number of high school graduates will decline beginning in 2025.

Poor fit

One in four students will not return after their first year of college. This is often because the school’s programs or culture did not meet the student’s expectations.

Expensive marketing

It’s difficult for traditional marketing tactics to break through the noise. The future of name buys is uncertain with changing data privacy laws and a gap in college fairs and standardized testing.

Student-Centric Recruitment Replaces a One-Size-Fits-All Approach

Student-centric recruitment means starting with the student in mind and working backward. To meet your goals, you can’t simply duplicate competitors’ actions or continue certain practices just because “it’s always been done that way.”

It’s critical to shift recruitment practices to consider the students’ best interests – adapting to support their needs, ensuring equity of access and opportunity, and understanding the impact of your actions.

Six Principles to Help Navigate the Future of Recruitment

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Support the Student Journey

By viewing the college application journey through the eyes of a student, you can better understand and address the questions they’ll have along the way.

  • Interact with students using the channels they use to learn about college.
  • Keep an open dialogue with students to understand their challenges and priorities.
  • Let students take the lead in their college search and come to you when they need information, rather than communicating the same way with everyone, on your schedule.

Educate prospective students about your institution with Awareness.

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Respond to Student Interests

Discerning what students are looking for when choosing a higher education institution will help you personalize your communications and help students feel understood.

  • Analyze what students are looking for in their college searches to better understand their goals and college decision criteria.
  • Assess how well your academic programs and extracurricular offerings meet student expectations so you know which ones will resonate with prospective students.

See how SuperMatch Insights helps you understand student interests.

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Prepare for Demographic Shifts

The number of new high school graduates is expected to drop by nearly 300,000 between 2025 and 2029. With a smaller pool of potential applicants, the only way to reach your enrollment goals is to maximize every interaction you have with students.

  • Work with stakeholders at your institution to understand the characteristics of students who are most likely to succeed as well as your goals and strategies for closing the equity gap.
  • Review performance of enrolled students and adjust your recruitment strategy to reach students who are the best fit for your institution.

Learn how Intersect Connection helps.

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Collaborate with Key Influencers

Build connections with the people who help students search for colleges and decide where they will apply and enroll.

  • Identify influencers such as parents, teachers, and high school counselors.
  • Initiate frequent discussions to build partnerships.
  • Assess the effectiveness of your engagement with influencers frequently, so you can adjust accordingly.

Learn how to strengthen influencer relationships with Presence.

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Conduct Ethical Data Practices

Always prioritize the best interests of students as you handle their personal and sensitive data. Make sure you’re able to articulate to students and their families how you are using their data responsibly.

  • Understand and evaluate your use of student data in the recruitment and enrollment process.
  • Ensure every decision involving data keeps students top-of-mind.
  • Establish consistent reviews of data gathering and usage practices and incorporate them into your team’s workflow.

See how Connection supports an opt-in communication strategy.

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Drive Student Success

A holistic approach to student success empowers your institution to share information, track toward common goals, and celebrate success together. Student success begins before students ever enroll at your institution, with personalized, student-centered recruitment.

  • Use the recruitment process as an opportunity to show students how you will treat them as individuals throughout their college experience.
  • Help students feel secure that your institution offers advising services, interventions, and resources to help them overcome obstacles and reach the goals they define.

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Ready to Try Intersect?

Gain insights on how to shape your class by analyzing Naviance and non-Naviance students in your current enrollment phases.

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