Ruffalo Noel Levitz study identifies top college marketing and recruitment practices

The findings of a recent poll of marketing and recruitment officials on campuses indicate that texting is now running ahead of email for four-year private institutions, while qualifying the interest levels of inquiries is an effective practice for four-year public institutions.

July 18, 2017: What’s working in higher education marketing and student recruitment? How is today’s student outreach changing? How are best practices evolving? A new study from Ruffalo Noel Levitz explores these questions, based on a survey of enrollment officials at private and public four-year institutions. The resulting report, the 2017 Marketing and Student Recruitment Report of Effective Practices measures the effectiveness and usage of more than 40 strategies and tactics, including specific approaches to event marketing, advertising, print communications, student search, digital marketing, internal operations, and much more.

The 2017 Marketing and Student Recruitment Report of Effective Practices was based on a 64-item, web-based Ruffalo Noel Levitz poll of campus officials in May of 2017. The report provides separate findings for four-year private and four-year public institutions. More than 90 institutions participated in this study.

One important new finding: Text messaging was a top-rated communication channel, but many respondents weren’t using it. Among the highlights of the study:


  • Purchased names, campus visitors, and stealth applicants were the top three sources of enrollees.
  • Online display advertising was the top form of advertising, but was rated less effective than text messaging, email, websites, and, for private institution respondents, publications.
  • Qualifying inquiries was a top practice for public institution respondents in the category of internal operations, but 57 percent of respondents weren’t using it.
  • Statistical financial aid awarding was a top practice for private institution respondents in the category of internal operations, but 21 percent of respondents weren’t using it.


“Benchmarks like these can help to identify strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for recruitment and marketing,” said Raquel Bermejo, associate vice president of market research and planning at Ruffalo Noel Levitz. “Along with the data, the report provides expert insights to help institutions become more effective and efficient.”

For a copy of the 24-page report, visit www.RuffaloNL.com/papers. For more information on enrollment management solutions, visit www.RuffaloNL.com/CompleteEnrollment

About Ruffalo Noel Levitz

Campuses turn to Ruffalo Noel Levitz to reach their goals for student recruitment, marketing, financial aid, student success, and donor engagement. The firm is distinguished by its powerful array of technology-enabled enrollment and fundraising tools currently used by more than 1,900 colleges, universities, and nonprofit organizations across North America and beyond. In addition, Ruffalo Noel Levitz conferences, research reports, papers, and articles help clients stay on top of current trends.

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