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Episode #30
Filling Seats Podcast | March 7, 2023

Recruiting parents and students to meet enrollment goals

In this episode:

You’ll hear from Laura Rudolph who is the Director of Enrollment Communication at Transylvania University, a private liberal arts university in Lexington, Kentucky.

You'll hear her discuss:

  • How they impact enrollment through strategic communication to parents
  • Why it's essential to use both data and individual interactions to inform a strategy
  • How they embody their small-school approach in campus visits
Laura Rudolph

Laura Rudolph

Director of Enrollment Communication

Podcast Inst Logos-30-1

Episode Transcript

[00:00:00] Host: You're listening to filling seats, the state of enrollment, marketing, and higher ed. Hosted by StudentBridge. In this podcast. You'll learn, what's working to grow shape and sustain enrollment. At colleges and universities directly for marketers thought leaders and ed tech innovators, because anyone can design a brochure, but not anyone can fill seats.


[00:00:27] Host: Welcome to episode 30 of filling seats. In this episode, you'll hear from Laura Rudolph, who is the director of enrollment communication at Transylvania university, a private liberal arts university in Lexington, Kentucky. You'll hear her discuss how they impact enrollment through strategic communication to parents.

[00:00:51] Host: Why it's essential to use both data and individual interactions to inform a strategy. And how they embody their small school approach in campus visits. Let's meet Laura. I'm actually a journalist at heart. I majored in journalism for my bachelor's degree and I ended up working in higher education when newspapers. started laying off in 2008. That was a bad year to be a college grad. and I say that that was a job that really became a career. It just completely changed my trajectory.

[00:01:22] Laura Rudolph: I fell in love with higher education marketing and I'm now have been in it for 15 years, . I did go on to earn my master's degree in integrative marketing communications, and that really opened up a whole new world for me. . I've also been very fortunate in my experience to across the spectrum, be in many different areas of higher ed.

[00:01:42] Laura Rudolph: So I've been in enrollment, student life and athletics. I've been at the undergraduate level and the doctoral level. I've been at a research one institution with 40,000 students, and now I'm at a small private. Liberal arts college with a thousand students. I've served primarily in marketing roles, but also as a director of admission as a digital recruitment coordinator.

[00:02:03] so I've really spanned several different types of jobs in several different areas at several different types of institutions. And so I've been very fortunate that it's helped shape me to be very well-rounded and have kind of a better, full encompassing view of what a college campus.

[00:02:16] Host: So tell me a little bit about your current role and how would you describe Transylvania?

[00:02:21] Laura Rudolph: Currently I am the Director of Enrollment Communication at Transylvania University. We're a small, private liberal arts college located in downtown Lexington, Kentucky. my role was created with, my former VP of enrollment and the former VP of Marketing Communications, as a bridge really between the two offices.

[00:02:40] Laura Rudolph: They both realized that each office had a gap of knowledge and wanted to know more about the other to really help their relationship thrive. but they didn't really have the resources for their individual teams to learn what the other office does on a day-to-day basis. and they really needed someone who had their foot in both worlds.

[00:02:56] Laura Rudolph: So my job essentially has become the creative director, but exclusively for enrollment as far as what I do. I think foundationally my job is consumer behav. . It's learning who our audience is, what they want, and then how we can deliver on it. I was very, very lucky to have leadership recognize the importance of a role like this, and this is still a growing role at other institutions, but as an institution that relies very heavily on enrollment for our operations budget, like many other private liberal arts colleges across the country.

[00:03:29] Laura Rudolph: I really think it's a very critical piece to our enrollment puzzle at.

[00:03:33] Host: So were you previously at Transy and then this position was created

[00:03:39] Laura Rudolph: so I actually came to Transy for the first time in 2011, and it was a brand new role called a digital recruitment coordinator. And this was a brand new position for the institution. They had seen it at other liberal arts colleges. and they thought, with the rise in use of social and digital media with the prospective student audience, they really felt that they needed someone in that role full-time to keep tabs on what people are saying and using that medium as a way to encourage enrollment to the institution.

[00:04:13] Laura Rudolph: So I came to that role in 2011. I was in that role in admissions for two years, and then I actually. Moved over. I was recruited by the Dean of Student Life to be the sports information director in the athletic department. very different role. but my time as a journalist really came in handy.

[00:04:31] Laura Rudolph: At that point I did actually a lot of sports journalism when I was an undergrad. And so I moved into that role for a year and in 2014, my family moved to another state. We moved over to West Virginia. And when I moved there, I had a brand new job. I was working in pharmacy admissions, so doctoral level.

[00:04:53] Laura Rudolph: And a couple years in, I got a call from my former vice president of athletics who is taking over enrollment and she said, I would really love you to come back to work for me as I move into this new enrollment job cuz she knew how critical. that marketing and communications was specifically was to prospective students and parents.

[00:05:13] Laura Rudolph: So I jumped back over to Transyent 2016 and this will be my seventh year back. so it's been, , almost 10 years at Transy Total. I call it my sabbatical when I was gone for that year and a half,

[00:05:26] Host: obviously I get to talk to lots of different people who work at lots of different types of schools and higher ed is really struggling right now. It's going through a lot of transition and a lot of people are feeling like growing pains and things like that. So as someone who has had the opportunity to work at lots of different types of schools and in lots of different types of admissions offices, from your perspective, Does everybody have it equally as bad or are certain types of schools at a disadvantage?

[00:05:58] Host: Because for my opinion, I think that a lot of it is scale. Like the smaller schools always complain that they don't have as much staff as the bigger schools, but then the bigger schools complain that they've got more volume that they're working with. So gimme your opinion.

[00:06:13] I think that you've kind of hit the nail in the head there. I think what really matters is scale the biggest difference I've seen is actually between. undergrad and that graduate doctoral level, I feel like there's a bigger difference in the gap of how an admissions office runs.

[00:06:28] that is the biggest difference I've seen. But when you're looking at undergraduate at a very large institution or undergraduate at a very small institution, I think it really just matters on your people and your processes. Those are the two things that really matter. If. are, an institution that you are working in a lot of paper in a very digital world, then it's gonna feel like it's very heavy and you have a lot going on.

[00:06:50] and that you can better utilize your resources. But when you're really functioning at a pretty high level, and you're working in your CRM and your counselors are traveling and you're being very cognizant of where you're putting your time, I think. . Really it's the same, whether you have thousands and thousands of applications coming in, or you have, just 2000 applications coming in.

[00:07:14] Laura Rudolph: sometimes At the undergraduate level, there's a greater pressure to. , and that's because at an institution like mine, we are very heavily dependent on our enrollment for our operational budget, ?

[00:07:26] some of these institutions are looking at 60, 70, 70 5% of their operational budget is due. specifically to tuition and fees. And so there's a much greater emphasis on making sure that you're hitting your goals and your numbers and you're constantly evolving and you're moving in real time.

[00:07:43] Laura Rudolph: Whereas sometimes at the graduate level or the doctoral level, there's not necessarily that emphasis. you certainly wanna meet your class, but there's other things that sometimes can help support those. that undergraduate schools do not have. I worked at a pharmacy school and they opened their own pharmacy and so they had an influx of some money coming in to help support the institution and that college, through the pharmacy.

[00:08:07] Laura Rudolph: And that's just an outlet that some undergraduate institutions don't have. And we are strictly an undergraduate institution. We don't have graduate programs. our focus has to be on enrollment.

[00:08:19] Laura Rudolph: so sometimes it's a good thing, sometimes it's a bad thing. But ultimately when you're looking at an admissions office and scale, it really just matters, I think about your people and your process.

[00:08:28] Host: Let's talk enrollment goals. tell me a little bit about what those goals are and how y'all are meeting them.

[00:08:34] Laura Rudolph: Our goals are actually pretty steady from year to year. So I would say that Transy operates at its highest potential. When we have a low student to faculty ratio, we can. Focus on developing that personalized student experience. So we aim for about 300 students, , 320 each year, cuz that's just really where we thrive.

[00:08:55] it's a high touch environment, a lot of personal one-on-one attention, and that's where we just work really well as an institution. And I think it's sometimes important to keep an eye on, this is our staff size, this, is there a faculty size.

[00:09:06] Host: This is where our students really thrive. Size that we are. And, so we're not necessarily one of those institutions. aiming for 500 new students every year. We just really wanna be steady and make sure that we're getting the right students, for who we are as an institution. What is something that your team is doing differently?

[00:09:26] first because my position exists, I have the ability to do a lot of listening. and that's something that others are not necessarily afforded. When you're in the depths of travel season, it can be a hard to take a step back from that. And I'm not a counselor, so I get to absorb all that information and then I'm able to use that to our advantage.

[00:09:46] Laura Rudolph: To craft our content and to craft our communication. generationally things change every few years and as we know, external experiences can also greatly influence how someone thinks and behaves. case in point, the Covid pandemic not something we anticipated. Students and families were of acting in a certain way prior to that pandemic, but post Covid things were quite different and we needed to know how to pivot and to adapt to.

[00:10:13] Laura Rudolph: and my position helps us to do that. I think tied into listening, thing that we do differently is that we really emphasize the parent their role and ultimately their influence in the college search process. And I think that for a long time, and us included, we always want to empower the student to be the person who's filling.

[00:10:37] Laura Rudolph: out the application obviously that would be something that's very important, being able to call us and email us directly and empowering them to start learning how to be an adult, ? But it would be remiss of us to think that the parent is not involved every single step of the way and is still not making those things happen behind the scenes.

[00:10:58] Laura Rudolph: So communication is an area for parents that we've put significantly more time and resources in the past few years than we have prior. we actually built out a full parent communication flow for parents of senior prospects and inquiries and admits, and I fully expect that to expand from there. We also utilize parents as a conduit to their students when we need their student to act on.

[00:11:22] Laura Rudolph: So whether it's letting them know that a deadline is coming up in two days, or that the student has gone 60 days and hasn't completed their application, we're gonna let that parent know and we see it work. That's the great part about it, is that we see that they are the person behind the scenes that are sometimes , making the students do the things we need them to do to move forward.

[00:11:42] we send them emails, we send them texts. We're working on parent publications. They have a parent and family webpage on our. . website We also have a parent portal that we use with campus e s p. so we really see the parent as an extension of the student, and we need to recruit them just like we recruit their student.

[00:11:58] Laura Rudolph: And, on a generational level, if you look at the Gen Z, which is very different than my elder millennial self, I'm aging myself a bit here, but they are more apt to see their parent as a friend than previous generations of us. that was not the case in my generat. , we've looked at what these generations want and we've changed how to talk to them, and we've changed what content that we present to them.

[00:12:24] Laura Rudolph: And we really focus on conversational marketing, dialogue driven marketing approaches. the other thing that we do as well is we don't rely just on our national data, which is very important, but we also do our own surveys and our own focus groups to help us determine our content, our frequency, our channel.

[00:12:40] it really helps us keep the pulse on our prospective student audience.

[00:12:44] Host: At what point are you collecting parent information? For prospects. prior to applying. Are you doing that like when they register for a campus tour? because obviously most of the time people wanna keep forms as short as possible.

[00:13:00] Host: Although in higher ed we are not good at that. So tell me a little bit about like how you're collecting pre applicant parent information.

[00:13:12] Laura Rudolph: Every. available opportunity we can is the answer. So let's start at the basics. inquiry cards. When you go to college fair, we have a front and a back of a very small card. And like you said, the shorter the better. So we have the absolute immediate things we need on the front from the student just to get them into the database, get them into the right entry term, and making sure they're getting the right communication.

[00:13:35] but we also ask for a parent name and parent email. There we have our. RFI form for students and parents. So if a student goes to our website, they will be hit with a popup, request for information form, and it'll right away will say, I am a prospective student. I am a parent. And that parent then can fill out information for their child.

[00:13:57] Laura Rudolph: But then we're also collecting the, their information as well. If they register for a. We ask for parent information. That includes really any type of event on our campus. We ask for parent information. the great thing we do use, slate as our crm. And the great thing about Slate is that we do have the ability to say, do you want to add a parent information?

[00:14:19] Laura Rudolph: One thing that we found to be successful in this is that we will also tell them. , and I think that's a something that sometimes we leave out in education is we just wanna collect your information. But if you tell them why you're going to use it, they sometimes are more apt to actually complete it. So what we will do is we'll ask for a parent information and we'll say, we're going to send them confirmation emails and events, emails and deadlines and financial aid, the things that you're not necessarily right away interested in.

[00:14:50] Laura Rudolph: And you'd be surprised how many students fill that. one of the emails that I do have in my communication flow early is we wanna learn more about you.

[00:14:58] Laura Rudolph: And that includes learning about your family. So we will ask them if they can provide us some more information, because if you do. , then we can tailor communication more specifically to you if we know your major interest and we know your extracurricular activity interest and we know who your parents are.

[00:15:13] so we've been of doing it at all levels and in any possible ways we can. we did not have this process in place many years ago, and really the only time we were getting parent information was at the application stage. And that is still obvious. Where you get the majority of your parent information.

[00:15:31] Laura Rudolph: But we found that the more we ask, the more the students are actually willing. And also I think that as many people in admissions know, the parents are sometimes completing a lot of this, and so sometimes it's also nice to know that we're collecting the parents' information instead of them accidentally putting in, their birthday with their student's name

[00:15:50] Laura Rudolph: . Which is very common. It does still happen. ,

[00:15:53] Host: in terms of the communication itself, so let's say just. To make it easy in a given year that a high school senior is going to get a hundred different touchpoints of communication, would their parent also get a hundred, would they get 70? Would they get 50? what's that percentage there?

[00:16:12] this goes back to making sure that we're doing our own research and our. So every summer, we will contact our parents who have just gone through this admissions process. Whether or not they chose to come to Transyent matriculated, and we ask these questions of them directly because frankly, we don't wanna just be throwing a dart at a board and hoping that.

[00:16:35] Laura Rudolph: and we know that parents are busy and they are working and they're also remote and they're also virtual and they're doing a lot of things. And we do not want to send them too much. it can be too overwhelming, especially if this is a parent going through this for the first time with their student.

[00:16:52] Laura Rudolph: or on top of that, it's, they're a first generation student and they're not familiar with the process at all and they're going through it for the first time. The area that we've seen as far as frequency goes, that seems to consistently show up is every two weeks.

[00:17:08] that seems to be something that they are very open to. extremely open to text messaging, and I think that institutions are still very weary of necessarily texting the parent. I think a lot text the student, but the parents have said yes, please text me. Because they are, Gen X and , older millennials at this point, right?

[00:17:27] Laura Rudolph: Like they are used to this type of communication, in this medium.

[00:17:31] Laura Rudolph: We even ask. Here's a list of things that we could send you. What are you interested in? What content is of most interest to you? And we also asked, do you want your own communication for you or do you just wanna be carbon copied on your students' information?

[00:17:46] Laura Rudolph: Because obviously we could do that too. And that's an easy way, ? For institutions to start getting into more parent communication is just carbon copying the things that they're interested in. but a majority of our students parents have said, I want information just. that's really what led us to, to start saying, okay, you know what, if this is what you're asking for, then we're going to fulfill it for you and we're gonna try to deliver on it.

[00:18:07] Laura Rudolph: So they're more interested in deadlines, events, application processes, fafsa, financial aid. But interestingly, one of the things that have crawled up into our, like top four or five this year with Student life, and I think that has happened because of the pandemic. they have seen their students at.

[00:18:25] Laura Rudolph: for one, two years struggling. They have not had this human interaction. They have not been able to, make new friends and experience what college is really like. Especially those who went through this in 20, 20 and 21. I think that now to them, they realize how critical that a campus culture and a student life is in their student's life, and so they are now.

[00:18:54] Laura Rudolph: Saying, okay, I want information about that as well. because I wanna make sure that my student is going to thrive.

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[00:20:34] Host: Learn

[00:20:38] Host: You mentioned email, text, and publications for parents, let's talk enrollment strategy. Overall, what marketing channels do you rely on most?

[00:20:51] Laura Rudolph: for the student. I think email and text are still the two primary channels in which we rely the most. to find success, you really have to have a multi-channel integrated approach. so students are bombarded by so many messages, and to really have an impact, you have to have around seven touches for that message to be fully received.

[00:21:10] Laura Rudolph: So I would also say our website is really critical to delivering the messages that we need. We partner with a company out of level called Capture Higher Education, for example, and they help us identify students on our website and then we're able to deliver relevant messages to them in real time as they're searching for it.

[00:21:28] Laura Rudolph: And then that data ties back to our CRM and helps us deliver more targeted messaging in print and other. So our website is also very critical to that. we also do obviously Google advertising and retargeting, to make sure that we're consistently bringing them back to the application. We just recently have had a conversation about doing that same type of targeting, but specifically to their parents.

[00:21:53] Laura Rudolph: So that's gonna be our next step of this, parent communication, will be to do that as well. And we also have our marketing communications office who manages our institutional social media on our behalf, and they match our communication flow so that the message is what we're sending to our prospective families is also being sent through social media.

[00:22:14] Laura Rudolph: And so we have a full funnel effect in that way that we're able to have lots of different.

[00:22:20] Host: - where do you place the importance of visits within your overall strategy?

[00:22:24] Laura Rudolph: Visits are our highest yielding initiative of anything that we do. We have realized that if we get their feet on the ground, at Transy, we can really move the needle. I manage our visit team for many years and I worked very closely with them and I just feel like we have a really great model.

[00:22:42] Laura Rudolph: ,

[00:22:42] Laura Rudolph: so we focus on small groups. Oftentimes it's one family on a tour at a time. and we make sure that they have a one-on-one meeting with hopefully their admissions counselor. And if it's not their personal counselor, it's a different counselor. we always wanna walk the walk. And if we're a liberal arts institution saying You're not a number, or, you come here for personal attention, then we need to live it and we need to reflect that message.

[00:23:05] Laura Rudolph: And so we're gonna do that through the visit experience as well. COVID was tough because we did heavily rely on this strategy as a means to enroll. , we could not have actually timed our relationship with Student Bridge more perfectly because we implemented it right before the pandemic came into full swing.

[00:23:22] Laura Rudolph: And we were very fortunate that we had then also a means to provide a virtual visit in that time period when, and a lot of our institutions couldn't. and we're having to catch up. So I'm thrilled to say we are now running kind of full steam ahead on our visit experience and , that is, is such a critical piece to our puzzle. we were very lucky. , like I said, student Bridge was able to help us out and step in during that time. And we still see though that if we can just, if we can get them there, it makes some significant difference.

[00:23:49] Host: What is something that your school or your team struggles with?

[00:23:52] Laura Rudolph: My guess is that this is going to be something that institutions struggle with across the board. And it doesn't matter how big or how small you are, but I think that you can become siloed because you're so busy doing the job you're doing, at a small school in particular. , we don't have, three people doing the same job , right?

[00:24:12] Laura Rudolph: There's not a couple people that are all advisors and they're all doing this one thing, every person's job is very individualized, and I think that because you're in the depths of the details every day, you can forget that I need to communicate this to somebody else, or, oh, you know what?

[00:24:30] Laura Rudolph: It would be great to get so and so involved because they have a skillset that I don't have that could really contribute to this project that I'm working on. And I think that we're getting much better at that. butit still happens.

[00:24:40] And I fully understand the, implications of the communications person saying we need to communicate more, but I think. , that's always going to be the case, so it's just really an effort that has to be made and sometimes can just get left out because, we, we work hard, , and there's always a lot of things to do.this is a job where you don't get to finish and conclude something and go home at the end of the day,

[00:25:03] Laura Rudolph: everything that you're working on is a long-term project for the most part. And so because of that, it's a different mentality having to think, stop yourself and think, I need to communicate this, or I need to talk to this person about this, or maybe we really do need to have a meeting about X, Y, Z.

[00:25:19] and so that, I think that's the difficult part, but I think that's probably something that all teams at some point struggle.

[00:25:25] who do you like to follow or learn from?

[00:25:28] Laura Rudolph: When it comes to, research insights, white papers, it's probably to no surprise that I really rely on companies that are very well established in education. So, RiNo Levitz, E A b, Carnegie. Hanover m Stoner. think it's really important to vary your resources of information.

[00:25:47] Laura Rudolph: As I mentioned, I'm a trained journalist, so I'm acutely aware of when a company is maybe researching for their own purposes or to, tout the impact of their own product. that would be a pretty big potential for a bias in a study. So obviously I'm very sensitive to those things. And so you really have to read with an analytical mindset.

[00:26:06] you want to know if the survey is valid, you wanna know if it's reliable, and you certainly don't wanna be , led to any wrong conclusions. And then use that to change your entire communication strategy. I always look at these, the data that I, find with. Companies, if what's the goal?

[00:26:21] Laura Rudolph: How many people responded? Are they primarily from a completely different geographic region? For instance, 80% of our students are from Kentucky. If I'm reading a survey that is completely students from the Northeast, it may not necessarily be the best, to apply to our student population. , and so we're making sure that we're conducting our own surveys as well, as I mentioned, of our own populations.

[00:26:44] because geographically enrollment is very, dependent on geography. So these larger nationwide white papers and research can really help validate those, some of our own findings, but they may also be different because our region is different. it's also important to remember that enrollment is an art and a science, right?

[00:27:01] Laura Rudolph: And , while the data is great and I learned so much from them, sometimes it's also just learning from the students and the families that you get to meet, and hearing directly from them. I loved when I had the opportunity to manage our campus visit experience because I wasn't necessarily doing the day-to-day of the visit, but I got to come outta my office and I'd have great convers.

[00:27:24] Laura Rudolph: with the families and you would learn so much. and while I realize I say that's an end of one, right? It's just one family. But you can glean some really interesting insights from just having those conversations.

[00:27:34] Host: And sometimes it helps to just get that, why, or that story behind something that you're seeing in the data. Like, , we're seeing all of a sudden a huge influx of visitors from Florida and we don't understand why. And then, you speak to that family and they're like, oh, this. Alum spoke at our swim club, meet,

[00:27:55] Laura Rudolph: You are so right. This happens so frequently. es especially when. , know, we run, we'll run these surveys and we're seeing an interest from somewhere we didn't expect. Or someone says that they're not interested in something that maybe we had seen before that they were interested in. You're like, what happened?

[00:28:12] this past year for the first time, one of the surveys that I sent, I asked a question that was, what maybe would've encouraged you to attend Transy if you didn't? And this is to students who did not choose to attend Transy. And the students said, I want a bachelor of science degree, not a bachelor of arts degree.

[00:28:33] Laura Rudolph: And I. Where did that come from? I was like, I've never heard that before. And so I went to a couple of our counselors and I said, have you ever heard this? And one or two of them, they were like, it's funny you say that because I heard this the other day that we only we're a liberal arts school, so we only offer Bachelor of arts degrees.

[00:28:53] Laura Rudolph: but it doesn't mean you're, you can't get a science degree. The science degree and the type of degree you get are two different things, right? So this person specifically wanted a degree in biology that was a bachelor of science because she thought that you needed the bachelor of science to get a job in science with a biology degree.

[00:29:12] Laura Rudolph: And we realized, whoa, where is this misconception coming from? Did they read it online somewhere? Was there an article that came out? maybe it's a guidance counselor who said something. And so I have reached out to our assistant, Dean, academic affairs.

[00:29:30] Laura Rudolph: asked, can you help me talk about what this means? And she just happens to also be a biology professor. she's gonna help me put together in words like, what does this mean? I've also reached out to some of our partner institutions who are at the graduate level, and I've asked them, when you are looking at an applicant for your graduate program in the science, , do you look to see if they have a bachelor of arts or a bachelors science degree?

[00:29:54] Laura Rudolph: Because number one, I was curious. I assumed not, but I didn't wanna assume. And number two,is that something that really does play heavy that I don't know about now? That Dean from PA school, came back and said, absolutely not. We do not look at whether you have a bachelor of arts or a bachelors science degree.

[00:30:12] Laura Rudolph: Well, we, here is what you got your degree in and what classes did you take and did it prepare you? And do you have the prerequisites? And so knowing that, we were, I was felt very validated that what I thought was correct, is correct. But now I'm like, oh my gosh, there's this assumption on here I need to correct.

[00:30:27] Laura Rudolph: So what we're gonna do is we're gonna throw this into a sophomore and junior. campaign this next year to talk about what is the difference between a bachelor arts and a bachelor science degree, and does it matter? what does it mean? So that was something that was brand new to us that we never experienced before and is going to change and affect our content for moving forward for a communications campaign.

[00:30:49] Host: What do you see for the future of higher ed marketing?

[00:30:52] Laura Rudolph: I think that we're going to start seeing from an enrollment perspective, more competitions with freely available education online, and that already exists. In . the past we've been used to competing against other liberal arts colleges offering the same majors, but now the competition is Coursera and edX offering degrees online and macro masters and certificates, and they're accelerating someone's course of study.

[00:31:18] Laura Rudolph: They're then earning a very solid financial living, especially in fields like computer science and data science. students are seeking alternative options to this traditional university. Experie. For less money and less time. And we're gonna have, as marketing professionals gonna have to find how to position ourselves against that.

[00:31:37] Laura Rudolph: Particularly finding ways to uniquely sell our return on investment. And I think that's gonna continue to grow as a competitor to higher education. more so than just other liberal arts colleges.

[00:31:48] Laura Rudolph: I think we're gonna see more finely targeted and personalized marketing messages. I think we're gonna see higher education personalization continue to refine itself and more companies show up to offer it. the globalization of higher ed, I guess you could say. hyperpersonalization and data tracking.

[00:32:06] and I think AI will also probably be a part of that. I think the way. are going to go about their college. Church is gonna continue to change. And I think we're gonna lose a lot of those traditional methods are no longer gonna be reliable as predicting enrollment. we have the admissions funnel and used to a student would be a prospect and then they would inquire and then they would apply.

[00:32:27] Laura Rudolph: But information is so accessible to students, there's no reason to follow that traditional funnel anymore. And it's why we're seeing it arise in so many self applications now. students would rather use voice search on their. , than going up to a table in person or making a phone call.

[00:32:42] I think short form content is also going to be.

[00:32:46] Laura Rudolph: Thing that we're gonna continue to see growth in. we see platforms like TikTok or Instagram reels that can provide information in such a short amount of time. And I think that under a minute, content videos are gonna be the way we have to go from now on.

[00:32:59] Laura Rudolph: It's, we're no longer gonna be able to have long form content, I think for students and families. and I think my last one is that it's almost more my hope for higher educat. Is that we have a greater expansion and we broaden how we think about higher education marketing as a whole. I feel like oftentimes we're looking inward at what our competitors are doing.

[00:33:22] those that are near us or proximity to us or as the most alike institution. And it can make a lot of our content and design look and feel the same. But I think that we're looking in the wrong places for inspiration. and so while I certainly look at other institu. . I would like to look at work happening in other verticals, like outside of education.

[00:33:42] Laura Rudolph: So I think we're gonna have to start comparing our marketing, not just to each other, but corporations, companies that are out there. it doesn't mean we can't say, wow, that's amazing. How can we adapt that to us into higher education? we have to be a little bit more fearless in.

[00:33:58] Laura Rudolph: New things and getting out of our bubble of how we talk about education.

[00:34:02] Host: . If you could go back five to 10 years and give yourself advice, what would it.

[00:34:07] always be learning. I think I have done that, but I think I could have done it better and I think I could have done it earlier. And marketing is a field . in which things change every day. And while I don't think that you have to be on top of everything that's happening, I think just making sure that you have a bit of a pulse on what students are interested in and why they're interested in it, can kind of help.

[00:34:32] Laura Rudolph: I don't know, get to some of those trends a little faster and some of that necessarily, doesn't happen at my level. it happens at leadership level. but being able to anticipate a little bit better, is always gonna be better for your institution.

[00:34:46] Host: If someone wants to connect with you, what's the best place for them to do that?

[00:34:50] Laura Rudolph: . They can find me on LinkedIn, as Laura Rudolph. They can reach out to me on Twitter. I'm at recruiter Rudy, or you can email me directly at l rudolph Transy,


[00:35:03] Host: This is the Filling Seats podcast, hosted by StudentBridge, your one stop shop for easy and engaging enrollment solutions. If you're tired of snory-telling, and ready to start storytelling your way to better visits and better enrollment, visit

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