Higher education isn’t always an "easygoing" industry. In fact, as the world around higher education continues to evolve, the pressure will increase as institutions compete for favorable recruitment results. Although no one can accurately predict what the future of admissions and enrollment will hold, we can study and analyze recent historical trends and current events to determine what steps can be taken in order to overcome challenges.
According to the Enrollment Management Report, some challenges expected to continue into the near future include:
Difficulty Achieving Enrollment Targets – A study from the Chronicle of Higher Education concluded that more than 40% of admission officers reported struggles to meet fall enrollment. In the 2019 Inside Higher Ed Survey of College and University Admissions Officials conducted by Gallup, the majority of 336 were very concerned about filling their classes.
Increasing Consumer Scrutiny – More people than ever are asking the question: “Is college worth it?” Prospective students are growing highly concerned and focused on the return on investment a college education provides.
Concerns about Student Debt – Many prospective students are anxious about taking on student debt, which is driving away potential applicants. According to the Business Insider, student-loan debt in the US is at an all-time high. Millennials are delaying life milestones because they simply can’t afford them.
Over Saturation of Traditional Marketing – Prospective students are receiving extensive print and digital communications from many different colleges. This can be overwhelming for the student and ineffective for the school.
Time Spent Training New Hires Due to Staff Turnover – Admissions offices often see rapid staff turnover, making ramping up new hires and reestablishing outside relationships a costly and time-consuming investment.
So what can be done to help meet enrollment goals in the future?
Focus on Underserved Students - Data from the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education projects that enrollments will decline through the graduating class of 2022. Admissions officers should consider doing more outreach to underserved student populations, as there is still enormous opportunity there.
Embrace National Demographic Shifts - There are three major demographic changes happening in the US: growing economic divisions, uneven geographic growth, and increasing racial diversity. Admissions officers should consider increasing their institutional diversity in all three categories by recruiting out-of-state students who fit these profiles.
Re-Evaluate Success Measurements - The typical ways admissions success is measured won’t be as effective in the future. Admissions officers should focus on better analyzing the “multi-touches” that happen throughout the lifecycle of a prospective student to identify what in the recruitment strategy is working.
To meet your college’s enrollment goals and find the candidates who are the best fit for your campus, it’s important to take account of these trends and challenges.
StudentBridge solutions expertly engage prospective students from first touch to post-graduation with the outcome being better retention through better recruitment. We help higher education marketing and admissions professionals access higher quality and quantity of students with the right content on the right device at the right time.
As the world's leading provider of student engagement and lifecycle solutions, we firmly believe in the power of personalized rich media. We also understand that even the best content must be intelligently curated and strategically delivered.
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StudentBridge services include interactive campus maps, Video Viewbooks, production services, and more! We also offer webinars, whitepapers, and an updated blog to provide resources for any college or university interested in improving their recruitment and marketing strategies. Contact us to book a free consultation to get the discussion started about how we can help you reach your yield goals!