Recruitment Travel, Campus Events, and Visits
This is part three of a four-part “Fall 2021 Is Coming” series:
- Fall 2021 Is Coming
- Inquiry Pool Health Check for Fall 2021
- Recruitment Travel, Campus Events, and Visits
- Fall 2021 College Communication Planning and Web Health Check
With each passing week we continue to see changes in school scenarios. Depending on your location, expectations and plans vary widely. Some states are back for face-to-face instruction for K-12 while others will be entirely virtual for several weeks or the entire fall term. Colleges and universities have also revealed a mixed batch of options for fall and have housing, dining, and athletics rolled in along with the complexities of bringing together a student body from a much broader area.
K-12 and college challenges will influence how enrollment professionals perform our work. As we consider how to move forward into the 2021 recruitment cycle, we can think about recruitment travel and campus visits or events together because both present similar challenges in the current environment.
First, let’s consider the goals of recruitment travel and individual visits or events. What are the primary reasons we conduct recruitment travel? What are the desired next steps for students you meet during travel or who attend an event on campus?
- Build general awareness of the institution
- Gather contact information
- Share information about the institution with students, family members, and school counselors
- Encourage students to apply for admission, learn more about scholarships and aid, and experience campus atmosphere
On-campus events or visits
- Gain more specific information about the institution, academic programs, admission, scholarships and aid, and campus atmosphere
- Meet faculty, staff, current students, admission team members, and coaches
- Tour the campus and key facilities
- Experience key aspects of campus atmosphere—classroom, dining, living on campus, activities, or athletics
- Participate in informational or admission interview
With that in mind, how can we achieve these goals of engaging students and increasing their interest in attending when the travel and visit season we have grown accustomed to has been disrupted?
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Maintaining engagement with digital outreach and targeted communications
In this environment it is vital that we engage audiences across a variety of channels to be sure we make contact and meet informational needs. To meet these needs, campuses should connect with students, families, and counselors formally and informally. Using remote campus visits, video, virtual meetings, chat, and text, develop a plan to meet the needs of key audiences and achieve desired outcomes. Consider these key informational needs for your audiences.
- Campus tour and residence hall tour
- Academic facilities tours
- Information session (similar to what would be offered prior to a campus tour or during a college fair)
- Completing the application—testing policy, review process, who to contact for assistance
- Scholarships and aid—when and how to apply, how awards are made
- Student panels discussing campus life and academic experience
- Faculty members introducing academic life to prospective students
- Information sessions for parents
- Information sessions for college counselors including testing, admission, scholarships and aid
- Outcomes for recent graduates
Campus visits and events: format and frequency
Because students and families may be spending a lot of time online, they will be less likely to be engaged during lengthy sessions like those we were able to offer during on campus visits and events. Also, virtual or hybrid high school classes may make students available at different times than we are accustomed to. As tempting as it might be, do not simply deconstruct a day-long on campus event and offer those sessions by live stream. Brainstorm these options with your team and consider what will work best for you.
- Develop a schedule of admission team events hosted at least once per week and invite students to attend by school, school district, or state (for out-of-state audiences). Include a current student to provide a student perspective if desired. Counselors can host by territory and invite students from your current inquiry list to attend.
- Consider hosting live events at a variety of times and days—not just on the weekend.
- Record key sessions so students and families can access those sessions on the timeline that works best for them.
- Create really brief sessions of less than 5 minutes to connect with students and refer them to more in depth sessions or invite personal conversations for more details.
- Have an information session recorded and ready to share with schools if requested.
- Design a mini-series of events for parents and school counselors so they can engage with the campus team.
Let’s talk how to keep students engaged when recruitment travel and campus visits are not possible
With so much uncertainty around K-12 and higher education this fall, we need to be flexible and prepared to pivot to meet the needs of students and families. Campuses can reduce uncertainty by providing clear and easy to access information that allows families to engage on their own timelines.
The enrollment consulting team at RNL is glad to chat with you if you have questions or concerns. We have been in your chair and would enjoy talking with you. Contact us today and we’ll set up a time to talk.
Next in the series—web site health check and communication plans.