The past several weeks have been a good reminder for our need to adapt to changes in our environment. As plans continue to shift due to circumstances out of our control, it's becoming more important for higher ed institutions to make sure the admissions process continues to work as intended for everyone.
We put so much emphasis on visits to campus, meeting with counseling staff at college fairs and interviews, that it may feel strange to cancel this level of access for the students we serve. But in our current reality, we need to anticipate many students will not be able to visit campus or meet with our staff – or simply do not want to. Our duty is to instead provide alternative options to give students the information they’re looking for, so they can make the best decision for their future.
What is the best way to navigate these unfamiliar waters? Here are some strategies to help ensure you’re providing the very best experience for your students:
Don’t set and forget. Be mindful of the calls-to-action and language used in your current drip marketing campaigns. Review any communication that pushes an in-person visit and consider linking to a virtual tour instead. While physically coming to campus may not be an option right now, there are plenty of other ways your prospects can engage with and learn more about your institution.
Lean on Slate tools. Don’t be afraid to use the free tools available within Slate to your advantage. Consider offering an option through Slate Scheduler to parents where they reserve a time to speak with an admissions counselor. Or by using Slate Share, your institution can move presentations and other in-person meetings to a webinar format.
Think beyond email. Speaking of Slate tools, did you know Slate has an automated calling option? With Slate Voice, you can send students a personal recorded voicemail from someone within your institution – all for just a penny a call. Not only are you able to engage a particular audience in a way outside of email, but this also allows counselors to focus their time on communicating with accepted and deposited students.
Expand your rules. Consider expanding Person Status rules in Slate to build up your inquiry pool, using additional criteria like PING data. You can then look at your institution’s website analytics to see which students have been to your visit page in the last 24 - 48 hours and send a follow-up message with an offer to virtually tour campus as a substitute.
Create an online FAQ page. Ask your admissions staff to share questions they frequently receive during a visit. This information can be great blog, social media and website fodder, and can help eliminate unnecessary phone calls or emails from students and parents.
In this uncertain environment, it’s important to remember to keep the student experience at the forefront of everything you do. As things continue to evolve, know that you’re not alone – Underscore is here to help your institution every step of the way.
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