June 4, 2019
How well do you market your university or college to prospective students? If you think students and their families value a college’s national ranking, location, or athletics most, you’re mistaken. U.S. News and World Report surveyed incoming freshmen to ask them why they chose their school. The top five reasons may surprise you.
- Academic reputation
- Job placement rates
- Value of scholarships and grants that were offered
- Cost of tuition
- Experience during a campus visit
Pay close attention to #5 on that list. Students put a lot of weight into the experience they have while visiting the campus. If you’re not using experiential marketing techniques to relate to prospective students, you’re making a mistake.
How Do You Market the College Experience?
To market your school, focus on what students want to experience. Look at some of the things young adults carefully weigh when choosing their college. Each one of these could be used to come up with an experiential marketing plan.
#1 – Job Placement
By junior and senior year, your current students are established in internships. Have prospective students shadow an upperclassman for a day. They’ll get to experience what the student’s daily routine is like. They’ll see what job the student is mastering thanks to your program.
If any of your graduates are willing, you could see if they could let a prospective student shadow them for a day in the working world. The graduate can show how what he or she studied led to his/her job now.
Some colleges hold job fairs for current students. Invite students that are interested in your college to visit the job fair and see what area jobs are available and where they could be working if they attended one of your degree programs.
#2 – Campus Tour
Turn a campus tour into a thorough look at what college life is all about. Arrange to have prospective students stay overnight or for an entire weekend in the dorms. Give them a pass for the campus food court and have the usual activities available for them to try out.
Make sure you’re hitting on your college’s strengths during the day. If your college is known for being near hiking trails, take interested students out on group tours of the area. If you’re close to an art district, get prospective art students out to the art studios to see what local artists are doing within the community.
#3 – Social Activities
Around 40 percent of students said the social activities offered at the college weighed heavily on their decision. The best way to market social activities is by making them hands on. Invite high school juniors and seniors to sign up for social activities your school offers.
If your college holds a spring carnival, make sure high schoolers are invited. If you do a winter ski outing, invite students to come experience what it’s like. Word of mouth advertising from your current students can also help secure a prospective student’s acceptance.
#4 – Availability of Online Courses
Some students find it best to take courses online when possible. It could be a lack of transportation or ability to work during the day and take classes at night that draws this decision. One of the best ways to market the availability of online courses is by letting students audit an online course. Give them a temporary log-in to access the course for a day or week and experience what it’s like.
#5 – Showcase the Curriculum and Degrees Available
Market your college or university’s strong points in a way teens won’t forget. If your college has a strong game design program, schedule a weekend for a video game tournament that features games that have been created by current students and graduates of the program. Get area restaurants and coffee shops to cater the event and let students see what’s around for food and places to hang out when they’re not in classes.
If music is your school’s strength, gather alumni and current students for a day-long music festival where they perform. Add local food trucks so that prospective students enjoy a taste of the foods and beverages available near the school. You could also let area attractions set up booths to show students what they can do on weekends.
Do You Have Ideas But Struggle on How to Make Them Work?
As a leader in experiential marketing, Factory 360 has the skill you need to market your university. Competition is fierce, and students are looking at more than a school’s national ranking. Talk to us about how you want prospective students to see your school. Call 212-242-2417 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.