For higher education institutions, marketing to high-school students in 2022 may be nothing like it was only two years ago. The fact is, Gen Z views higher education more pessimistically than ever following the COVID-19 pandemic. In order to get through to these young students, collegiate marketing strategies must keep up. Here are three simple ways your institution can encourage high schoolers to apply and enroll.
1. In-Person Events
Students want to see the college they’re applying to in person. Therefore, making your tours memorable is perhaps the most important marketing decision a college can make. While self-guided tours may seem to do the trick, students and their families want more than to simply look around. A friendly tour guide can make all the difference for prospective students. Whether it’s an open house, admitted students’ day, or just a weekend, make sure your admissions team is available for questions.
Beyond tours, consider opening spots on your college campus to the public as well. Holding sporting events at a newly renovated complex or hosting artists at concert halls can attract students near and far, moving your school higher up the list of those to revisit.
2. Student Ambassadors
Connecting high schoolers with enrolled college students is extremely impactful. Although admissions staff may put on a great show, prospective applicants want personal conversations, too. Consider partnering up with local high schools to create a mentorship program where high school students can spend a weekend at the college with an ambassador, getting to know the college student and the school more intimately.
Student ambassadors can also sign up to visit their high school alma maters during winter or spring break. Discussing college decisions with a friendly face can make the application process much less intimidating.
3. Social Media
To no one’s surprise, social media is one of the easiest ways to reach Gen Z. The student ambassadors mentioned above can be much more than your average employee – they can also be influencers.
Sophomores through seniors in high school receive a massive influx of direct mailers thanks to businesses like the College Board. Organic impressions on social media can make your school stand out. Consider Binghamton University, located about 10 minutes from the Riger office. In 2019, Gen-Z humor landed BU the honor of being rated top college Instagram in Up&Up’s Higher Ed Social Media Engagement Report.
Videos can also elicit college applications. Virtual tours are a huge help to students who cannot travel to every college they take interest in. BU’s YouTube channel also features “Major Minute” videos where current students break down their major and why they love it in just 60 seconds.
And who can talk about videos without mentioning TikTok? College students are fluent in TikTok lingo, and letting them take the reins on official university accounts can pay off tremendously. In fact, users don’t even need to follow your account to see your posts if you’re lucky enough to land on the “For You” page.