Everyday I work with institutions around the country and general themes almost always emerge in our conversations: There isn’t enough time! There is too much to do and not enough time/money/resources to do it! We’ve lost too many team members to think about this right now!
Everyone is exhausted and overwhelmed with what they have to do on a daily basis and the excessive amount of turnover in admissions only makes this worse.
This exhaustion and turnover means that everyone is working harder, not smarter, and admissions teams don’t have the bandwidth to handle it. Unfortunately, enrollment teams are allowing the inefficiencies of a broken system to stop them from doing better. Teams are not considering how we have adapted and how what we’ve learned, such as the role virtual engagement, should play in a well-thought out recruitment strategy, could help us work smarter and give you some time back in your days. You want to spring forward but consistently fall back into old habits.
Admissions counselors were overworked and underpaid before the pandemic and that hasn’t changed. You might not be able to increase the pay in admissions, but you can allow for a better work/life balance by leveraging the resources you have available. As a former admissions counselor and assistant director of enrollment management, I can say first-hand that the right technology can make all the difference. Here are a few strategies I’ve seen that allow counselors to effectively connect with their students while also increasing efficiency and supporting the desired work/life balance.
- Offer hybrid programming: Admissions counselors can utilize both in-person and virtual strategies for the traditional high school visit by visiting feeder high schools in person but offering a virtual information session for the rest of the schools in their territory. When, according to the latest Niche student data, only 35% of students say they will interact with a college at a high school visit, you need to identify where in-person efforts are best targeted.
- Use pre-recorded content: Virtual events don’t always need to be live. In fact, move on from the mindset of live events to the next iteration of virtual engagement which is focused on virtual content. With technology like our Conduit platform, you can pre-record a session and play it as though it’s live for students, parents, high school counselors, or any of your other audiences. You can also create short, on-demand videos that students can view at their leisure. These are quick to record and will help to reduce calls & emails coming to admissions counselors.
- Get comfortable with authenticity: Prospective students want to hear from current students and, according to Niche, they want less formal, more conversational information that is relatable and personal. Well-produced marketing videos have a place in your strategy, but so do the students you rely on everyday to share their stories. Utilize your student ambassadors to create video content for you and allow them to do so unscripted.
- Use the data: Data on student engagement can streamline your efforts. The amount of information a partner can provide, like within the Engage platform, can not only save time and money, but also allow you to see who your most interested students are, target them specifically, and practically eliminate stealth applications.
- Don’t do it alone: Make use of the strategy support provided by PlatformQ Education. We are focused on designing a virtual engagement plan that aligns with your enrollment goals. As a former client myself, I can guarantee that our strategy team is an extension of your team and we focus on making your lives easier. Let us work smarter together so you can stop working harder alone.
Bethel College has found great success with implementing these strategies, such as hybrid programming, pre-recorded content, and using behavioral intelligence data to make decisions. According to the Director of Admissions, Eric Preheim, the “Capture data is off the charts when we host events on Conduit.” Eric and his team take advantage of not only the integration between Conduit and Capture, but they also host both live and pre-recorded events alongside their fall travel. Additionally, many of their events, like their Spiritual Life Panel, highlight their student population and allow prospective students to connect with current students.
When there is no sign of pay increases for admissions professionals, let’s take advantage of the virtual technology, data, and strategy support so that we can give counselors more time to make meaningful connections with students. They may not see this change reflected in their paycheck, but your admissions counselors will feel less stressed, be happier on a daily basis, and stick around longer to enjoy their hard work and success.