Let’s talk about how your institution seals the deal with non-traditional students. It is all about the planning and execution – both the marketing, and the heavy lifting that happens before the marketing. You are going to need the goods in place before the campaigns roll so that you are able to deliver on the marketing promises made.
Briefly Reviewing the Opportunity
This is our third post in our three-part series about students who have Some College, No Degree (SCND) non-traditional students. In last week’s blog post, we discussed the segment within these 36 million Americans who are most likely to return to school—Potential Completers.
Now, just because they have a high likelihood of re-enrolling, doesn’t mean they actually do it. But, since the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center’s original report in 2014, about 940,000 SCND students have since re-enrolled and have completed their degrees. That is roughly the same number of international students currently studying in the US – another valuable student segment we love to talk about.
There’s the projection that non-traditional students will double the enrollment growth of traditional students by 2022. This is why, a number of years back, the Intead team applied our targeted marketing research and execution skills to this growing segment. Our aim: position your institution to take advantage of the trends that matter. You've grabbed our non-traditional student marketing ebook from us by now, right?
A Challenging Reality
We all know academic industries are slow to change and move. Convening the right team and presenting them with the data that supports change is how things get done. The team at Intead is often sought to facilitate that transition and help set a cogent and actionable plan for student enrollment growth...based on data.
There are many factors to consider as you evaluate how to maintain or expand your enrollment numbers in the face of significant market shifts. It is all about how you plan and execute.
Over the next two weeks, the Intead team, Patricia, Alicia, Stephanie and Ben, are attending a number of our industry’s major conferences: TABS, ICEF and AIRC. We will be sharing data on international and domestic student mobility at the high school and university levels and the digital marketing tools that can truly change your institution’s position in the competitive market – from peer-to-peer platforms, to artificial intelligence, and the ever shifting pay-per-click campaigns that engage your target audiences.
Developing an Actionable Plan
So, about those planning and execution tips to help you enroll non-traditional students AND a preview of all the market research we are about to drop.
Want to get a jump on it? Reach out: firstname.lastname@example.org and Read On…
Re-Enrollment By The Numbers
- 8 million re-enrolled
- 940,000 completed a credential
- 1 million are still enrolled
That makes for a combined success/progress rate of 54% among re-enrollees.
Of those SCND non-traditional students:
- Most enroll at public institutions
- 38% returned to the same institution where they last enrolled
- They tend to graduate from the institution at which they first re-enrolled (so they tend not to transfer out)
- They usually complete their degree within two years, without stopping
- They typically re-enroll and graduate in the same state where they last enrolled
Are you seeing some digital marketing targeting opportunities in these trends? We are.
Planning and Execution
These potential students are already balancing busy lives and careers and they want to advance. You need to let them know you both respect that desire and can offer them the path to achieve it. If you market these services, you must deliver on the promise.
Highlight that you offer things like:
- Knowledgeable and valuable career advice for the professional crowd (as opposed to career counseling for 21-24 year olds). Get your career services staff trained and connected.
- Interactivity in small classrooms and around campus with other career professionals – career networking with peers. Create opportunities for theses connections to happen.
- Academics that will foster career advancement. Put that lens on the academic programs you have available and consider the time of day and frequency with which they are offered.
- Practical knowledge that can be applied to their careers on a day-to-day basis. They are not coming back to school to study philosophy. No disrespect! We took those philosophy classes and loved them back in the day. But this market segment is not paying tuition to discuss Alfred North Whitehead, Paul Tillich, Mary Daly, or Kwame Anthony Appiah – important thinkers, all. Be sure the curricula being offered address these potential students' need for career advancement.
- Connections to employers in targeted industries. This takes time to build and you have to start somewhere. So many institutions say they have this, but they really don’t. Be the one that has established systems and consistent connections, not just haphazard relationships with employers. Prove it with outcomes data.
So, there you have some planning steps. Be sure you have the goods identified above that will help your prospective non-traditional students move from where they are now to where they want to be.
As to execution, create the headlines and tell the stories that will help them understand and believe in the power of education that will meet their needs. Keep your campaigns highly targeted to where the SCND non-traditional students are. Did we mention proving your case with outcomes data?
Non-traditional students are a highly divided group with small pockets of them found in many different places. A lot like the international student market, they are not all in one place with common attributes. This is why the Intead team is so good at developing and executing an effective marketing plan. We know this stuff and we launch targeted campaigns to reach targeted audiences.
The content and the dissemination channels that you will employ are discussed in our non-traditional student marketing e-book—Quality. Cost. Convenience. We’ve researched and written about how to attract and retain non-traditional students with nine case studies from your peer institutions. Intead Plus members have access to our extended version, offering concrete marketing tactics and recruitment strategies, student personas, and market segmentation tips.
Don’t Just Take Our Word For It
Mary Marquez Bell, recently retired Vice President for Enrollment Services, SUNY Old Westbury, said, “I love the blend of data, environmental scans, case studies and basic recommendations that are interwoven in each section. This e-book is excellent for institutions that seek to fine tune their non-traditional services or begin the process of addressing their needs. It covers the many daunting challenges that universities face when focusing on this student segment.”
The Bottom Line
Your institution and your marketing must be ready for non-traditional students, because not only are they coming, they’re already here. And, soon they’ll be the new traditional student.
- International high school student mobility (data from 167 schools analyzed)
- African and Latin American international student influencers and motivators (12K+ student survey responses analyzed)
- International student interactions with artificial intelligence and chatbots (180K+ interactions analyzed)
- International student interactions with peer-to-peer platforms (200K+ interactions analyzed)
You won’t want to miss this stuff!