Ah, summer. For college students around the country, finals week marks the end of another gruelling school year…or does it?
Across the nation, a large number of students take summer classes while campus is less busy. At community colleges specifically, many choose this option to get a head start on earning credits while they work. Others choose it to catch up on academic work and ensure they graduate on time.
Community college summer courses are no doubt a popular resource at the university level, so how can community colleges maximize a summer student recruitment strategy in 2022? Summer holidays may just be around the corner, but there’s plenty of work left to be done.
Step 1: Take Inventory
There are a lot of considerations when it comes to recruiting for summer courses. In order to look forward, higher education marketers can also look back:
- Gather data on the student motivations for each summer program or course: Where are they coming from? Are they transferring courses and need extra credit to get on to their new program? Or, perhaps they are students already enrolled in college, and are looking to gain credit while they are home during the summer months.
- Based on the summer campaigns from last year, what went well and what needs to be improved?
In a recent survey, nearly three-quarters of students — 73 percent — said they would prefer to take some of their courses fully online post-pandemic. It’s data like this that illustrates the importance of current and past research at your institution and nationwide.
Knowing where your students are coming from, where they’re going, and what they want, is the key to neatly matching students into your college’s summer course offerings—don’t just take our advice, take inventory!
Step 2: Diversify Creative Advertisements
Anyone who has ever stepped foot on a community college campus knows the student body can vary greatly in age. By harnessing the inventory of data you have gathered, higher education marketers can also glean which platforms to advertise their different courses on and to which students. For adult learners, straightforward, informative Facebook and Google advertisements are key. Younger students, especially Gen Z, are more likely to be drawn to creative and video-based advertisements on platforms such as Instagram, Snapchat, and Tik Tok. Consider staying ahead of the curve when it comes to the features that each platform allows, whether that be with filters, AI or Reels. Opt for a creative soft-sell techniques to improve brand awareness, and encourage the students come to you through simple, curated inquiry journeys. Chances are, they may already have their eye on a college for the summer, so softly nurture them towards choosing your college instead.
Step 3: Emphasize Value Proposition
If you know the “who” and you’ve considered the “how,” now it’s time to think about the “what” of your campaign.
Community colleges have the unique benefit of being accessible and well-known to local students, as well as online students within a 65-85 mile radius. With community colleges, there are other factors which can sway students greatly, for example cost, course duration, quality of instruction, ease, and accessibility. If there’s a big course offering somewhere else—somewhere farther away—conveying your USP early on will nurture them into choosing your program over others.
Step 4: Juggle Recruitment and Retention
Within the exciting flow of a new campaign, it’s easy to forget that current students can jump ship for summer programs elsewhere. Checking in with current students will help nurture them and avoid drop-off. By balancing the recruitment of new students and the retention of current ones, enrollment will swell in no time.
Keeping these things in mind, summer enrollment is all about understanding your students’ motivations, conveying your value proposition to show how your college matches up to their expectations, and delivering targeted advertisements in the correct format. For further advice on boosting your brand awareness and enrollment figures, get in contact with us today.