Industries across the globe are grappling with how to convert historically in-person activities and exchanges into equally engaging, and meaningful, virtual experiences. Higher education is no different. Institutions have already had to make an overnight transition to remote instruction, ramp up virtual engagement and orientation over the summer, rethink communication strategies, and adjust to large numbers of staff working off-campus.
Reevaluating prospective student communications in the time of COVID-19
Probably the most difficult part of these challenges and adjustments is the amount of uncertainty there remains about the future. When will travel return to normal? When will it be safe to welcome students back to campus? What measures will we have to put in place to keep students and staff safe? How do we operate in the fall with all of these unanswered questions, but more pressure than ever to meet our enrollment goals?
As plans for reopening remain the focus on most campuses, enrollment teams need to be looking ahead to the critical admissions work they do in the fall to set up their academic classes for the next few years – building strong pipelines, cultivating affinity, engaging prospective students, and generating application demand.
Recruiting will look different this year. The ability to bring prospects to campus for in-person visits or for admissions officers to travel to high schools and conduct college fairs are still open questions. No matter what, recruitment work will need to adjust to our socially distanced environment. Just some questions we are hearing include:
- How do we capitalize on increased web traffic?
- What will our admissions officers do if they can’t get out on the road?
- How do we replicate the engagement and affinity we can build in-person through virtual events?
- How do we make prospects feel safe in applying to a university far from home?
Our team will be tackling these questions and many others in a series of working groups for our partners across July. We hope you will join us to learn from your peers how they are preparing to tackle these challenges and come up with some actionable solutions to take back to campus.