I was intrigued and totally confused after reading “Tangled Up in Tech,” in the March 16 issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education. The reporter talks with admissions deans and media designers about the “promises and pitfalls of electronic recruiting.” The bottom line is no one really knows how to get to high school students electronically. IM has its down side (intrusion). Blogs by administrators don’t have total credibility. Blogs by students should be monitored. Creating a profile of your institution on a social-networking site is a bit like being “invited to dinner and you start selling Amway during desert,” according to Robert Sevier of Stamats, a company that advises colleges on marketing.
It was also notes that someone hacked into Roanoke Bible College’s My Space profile and linked it to a porn site.
By now it’s pretty common knowledge that students view emails as the way old people communicate.
Steve Thomas director of admissions at Colby College, has found that hiring students to log on to Instant Messenger has been very successful.
Campus tours on your Website are good but should be real. (One of the hardest things in higher ed marketing is total honesty. Who wants — or who is allowed — to point out your college’s weak spots or flaws even though high school students consistently ask for total honesty?)
Stamats and others strongly advise that we keep our printed materials because parents are more involved than ever in their child’s choice of a college.
At Mansfield University, the admissions director and I have been experimenting with post cards, addressing them to the high school student, knowing that in all probability the moms will also see them. Are they successful? As usual, hard to tell. We did a large mailing of post cards pushing our podcast show. I haven’t really seen a huge numbers spike. On the other hand we did get inquiries from the post card marketing our fisheries program, but that was targeted to a specialized audience.
I’ve read the Chronicle article several times now.
Conclusion: finding one successful way to reach high school students is like collecting a cup of dust in a rainstorm.
If you read the Chronicle piece, I’d be interested in your thoughts.
And if you’ve tried different successful approaches, such as post cards, YouTube, etc., it would be great if you could share them.