Top 5 practices for marketing and student recruitment, as rated by college admissions officials in a recent poll

Fred LongeneckerAugust 12, 2013


Four-year public institutions

Two-year public institutions

What’s working in 2013 in the areas of student recruitment and college marketing?

As shown above, events and event-related activities dominated the lists of the “top 5” most effective strategies and tactics for college marketing and student recruitment in the findings of a national electronic poll conducted this spring by Noel-Levitz. The poll asked college admissions officials to rate the effectiveness of 80 wide-ranging practices, including events, e-communications and Web practices, print/mailing practices, and student search practices. Also rated were internal operations and specific modes of communication, including social media.

As shown above, hosting campus open house events was the singlemost effective practice for respondents from four-year private and public institutions, receiving ratings of “very effective” from 75 to 79 percent of respondents on a rating scale that consisted of four choices: “very effective,” “somewhat effective,” “minimally effective,” and “method not used.”

Respondents from four-year private and public institutions also gave high marks to the practice of hosting campus visit days for high school students and to scheduling campus visits on the admissions Web site.

Respondents from two-year public institutions similarly gave high marks to several events and event-related activities when compared to other practices. For example, as shown above, 47 percent of these respondents gave “very effective” ratings to campus visit days for high school students, and 36 percent gave “very effective” ratings to campus visit events designed for school counselors.

More findings from the poll

Conducted between March 12 and March 29, 2013, the poll of admissions officials also found:

  • Using a CRM ranked at or near the top of a new category in this year’s report for four-year private and public institutions: “Top five internal operations practices.”
  • Running television ads was rated a top practice in 2013 for two-year public institutions but was not being used by more than a quarter of respondents from this sector.
  • Sending an e-mail message was the preferred method for making first contact with purchased names among respondents from four-year private and public institutions.
  • Only about one-third to one-half of respondents across institution types reported having a strategic, multi-year enrollment plan that they felt good about, and less than one-half of respondents across institution types indicated they had a student recruitment committee they felt good about.

The Noel-Levitz study, titled 2013 Student Recruitment and Marketing Practices Benchmark Report for Four-Year and Two-Year Institutions, is the latest in a series of polls and surveys that have been conducted by Noel-Levitz since the late 1980s for the purpose of identifying effective practices. The report includes an appendix with rankings of all items on the poll and additional information regarding student search practices, written contacts, and planning and leadership practices.

If you have questions about this report, or if you would like to schedule a complimentary telephone consultation to discuss your marketing and student recruitment practices with a Noel-Levitz expert, please contact us.

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