As the COVID-19 crisis stretches into its ninth month, all eyes in higher education are on fall enrollment numbers to see the impact of the pandemic thus far. The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center released a report last week, painting an interesting picture. Overall undergraduate enrollment is down 4% from the previous year, with the most significant drop in first-time students (Freshman) at about 16% nationwide.
The good news remains that graduate enrollment continues its upward trajectory of 2.7% growth. These programs grew despite reversing the overall number of graduate program applications declining 0.6% in the past year. The numbers are good, but there are some factors to take into consideration.
Reduced undergraduate numbers now will mean a shortage of prospects in the future. The economic downturn tends to give rise to career changers seeking graduate programs to jump to a new field, as well as career enhancers looking to stay in their current area and wanting to “skill-up”.
Graduate admissions is a long-game that takes weeks, months, and sometimes years for students to consider applying and matriculate. Finding prospects can prove challenging when traditional methods of outreach are not available. Combined with tightened budgets, schools will be forced to be creative to stay competitive.
Integrating marketing automation tools that generate demand and nurture prospects is where grad schools who are at the forefront are investing in the future. They do it through focusing on three areas:
- Demand Generation: Leverage digital platforms like Google, Facebook and LinkedIn to find prospective student who reflect current students.
- Demand Nurture: Regularly send only relevant information through email marketing inviting them to visit a customized experience personalized solely to that individual.
- Meet Them Where They Are: Make is simple – one-click—for prospects to schedule a one-on-one admissions meeting, attend an info session or schedule a visit once campus tours are back.
Let the experts at MF Digital Marketing help you stay ahead of the curve. Contact us today for a demo of our customized campaign options and see how our specialized service and attention to detail make us different from the rest.