Attracting & Engaging Students in Higher Education


To confirm that higher education clients do struggle with attracting/engaging students
To provide some ideas for how to better attract/engage the right students
To gain a deeper understanding of how higher education institutions currently utilize their content/messaging on their website to attract and engage the "right fit" of students for their programs

in order to inform new business opportunities with higher education prospective clients.

Early Findings

Our initial research on attracting and engaging students in higher education revealed insights. Here are key pieces of information we found:

Attracting & Engaging Students in Higher Education

  • Higher education clients are struggling to attract students and meet enrollment goals.
  • One key reason for this struggle is that many higher education clients are still using outdated communication channels like snail mail, email, and call centers. Today’s youth are not going to the mailbox and reading content sent to their home via snail mail or reading emails either. Statistics also show that about 95% of all call center activity by colleges results in no answer.
  • Another key reason that higher education clients are struggling to attract students is the lack of personalization in the recruitment strategies of many higher education clients who do not know anything about students other than test scores, geographic location, ethnicity, and other non-relevant pieces of data from purchasing names of students whom they think are a good fit. Students often immediately tune out to this outdated method of marketing. This lack of personalization is further exacerbated when higher education clients wait until student test lists are available to attract students, usually late in the junior year of high school before having any access to them, long after high school counselors, parents and often students begin to think about and discuss careers and study paths.
  • Higher education clients are also struggling with engaging students due to a lack of personalization that does not address the typical student profile.
  • The profile of incoming college students has changed dramatically in recent years, and the typical student does not come to college straight from high school, attend classes full-time, and live on campus. Approximately 44% of college and university students are 24 years of age or older, 30% attend class part-time, 26% work full-time while enrolled, and 28% take care of children or other dependents while pursuing their postsecondary studies.
  • Another key reason that higher education clients are struggling with engaging students is that they are not offering adequate support systems that can address student needs and make it possible for them to be successful in their programs.

Proposed next steps:

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