When it comes down to it, enrollment managers’ and admission officers’ jobs boil down to one essential question: what gets asses in classes?
Many answer this question with the Big B.
Branding could be a promise, a mission, or a takeaway. But it is not the end-all be-all.
Data from Niche’s Class of 2023 Fall Senior Survey show only 52% of seniors say a school’s brand recognition was somewhat influential in their college search journey.
When schools spend major bucks on branding, research, and rebranding efforts, other areas that are equally if not more important in the recruitment process might fall to the wayside.
C before B
What’s more important than branding? One thing is for sure.
Thoughtful and personable communication that builds relationships is an absolute must in enrollment management.
Students are hounded by tons of colleges wanting to get their attention. You can separate yourself from the pack by creating a genuine connection with prospects to show that they are more than just a quota.
This isn’t new insight by any means. Take for example the college search journey of our Social Media Manager, Julia Watson.
“When I was applying to colleges in 2014, a school that I had never heard of skyrocketed to the top of my list. A lot of that had to do with the relationship I had built with the admission counselor there. After meeting him at a college fair, he personally followed up and set up another time for us to meet in-person the next time he was in my city,” says Julia.
“I gained insightful information about a specific major I wanted to pursue and even was awarded the presidential scholarship upon my acceptance to that school.
“Ultimately, I chose a school that was closer to home, but I still remember that admissions counselor and the impact he had on my college search journey. Meanwhile, I can’t even recall who I talked to from the school I ended up choosing!”
It’s evident that budgeting should go towards services that build relationships with students. Even if that student doesn’t end up picking that school, like Julia, good impressions last a lifetime, and word-of-mouth is a powerful influential factor.
In fact, 43% of seniors said word-of-mouth was their top research method.
If you can provide the goods and services students want to see, ones that bring quality to institutions, quantity will follow.
Even if you do wish to beef up your branding efforts, ensure that your brand is exactly who your school is, not what your school wants to be.
Why? Because schools won’t ever reach that ‘want’ without providing the goods and services to back it up.
Learning how and when to communicate this information is integral to successful admission cycles.
Building Communication Flows with The Parish Group
How will you convince those prospects that you’re the stand-out school that truly cares? You 👏 have 👏 to 👏 truly 👏 care.
- Be sure you’re inspiring a team of admissions counselors that prioritizes relationships.
- Have emails drop on student birthdays.
- Go into post-tour interviews knowing they’re interested in computer science and have Dr. Hargrove’s business card at the ready.
- Remember that Amanda graduated from their high school just last year.
- Track funnel migration on the individual level, so no student goes without contact for more than 30 days.
Sounds amazing, right? But maybe a little too aspirational?
If you feel that this level of insight and communication is a reach, let us help.
We’ve had great success coaching our client-partners through automated email campaigns, counselor training, and territory management for decades, and we’d love to help you next.