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Recruiting Intelligence

Investing in Growth, Looking Beyond Fall

Your institution’s mission has not changed.

Despite all that is swirling around us, you are still in the business of helping people improve and achieve. You are still helping them understand what to learn and how to learn it.

Resilience is Built

Many institutional leadership teams are demonstrating the very resilience their mission statements say they will instill in their students. Others are suggesting business as usual with little change to their operations beyond physical distancing practices.

Investing in adaptation and innovation builds long-term resilience. This is what students are doing by investing in their educations – building resilience.

What is the story we tell students and parents? “Take the risk. We know it is a lot of money, but you’ll be better off in the long-term.” We tell students to invest in a 4-year growth plan, and we reinforce it along the way, “Don’t be deterred! Finish in 4 years!”

Are academic leaders following that same advice to build resilience for their institutions? Or are they crying poor, just like the students they are trying to convince to spend savings and take on debt for future gains?

Here’s the thing: institutions rarely stick to their own 4-year plans.

Example: Enrollment marketing initiatives often start with 3-5 year plans. The team acknowledges that real returns won’t materialize in years 1 or 2. And then, turnover in senior administrators and other outside factors suddenly defund the growth plan and little to no progress gets made. The planned investment halts after just 12 months.

I’m sure you’ve seen this happen all too often.

What To Do?

Develop the vision. Build the buy-in. Invest in the execution. Stay the course.

We will be adding a new set of research and resources available to our Intead Plus members over the next 8 weeks to help you do just that.

Read on to take a look at where forward-looking institutions are making these investments for longer-term growth (case studies are available).

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New Revenue Sources: Your Success Depends on It

How does a university facing reduced enrollment find new sources of revenue? Let's get specific. 

There are a number of answers to this question. And they hinge a bit on how much time your institution has. Is this need for diversified sources urgent, as in, “Let’s get a new program out there this summer to increase fall enrollment”? Or do you have funds (endowment or reserves) to draw upon for the next year to weather the storm, allowing new revenue sources to be developed more slowly?

Either way, the response will require speed -- not a strong suit for academic institutions in general. And it requires a level of nimble creativity and well-coordinated collaboration. These are hard combinations to pull together. But mostly, it is the compressed length of time to bring a new idea to market that will likely be your biggest challenge.

With this post we are offering a range of ideas for new academic programs that you can offer to students across the country and around the world. For the most part, these are all programs that you can create from what you have on hand already. There’s a bit of repackaging and rebranding required. And an innovative delivery system. But it can all be done in the time you have available.

What’s the catch? Why haven’t you done this before? Well…

To succeed at this, you must have support from the those at the top and the ability to innovate. Easier said than done. But now your success depends on just that — getting it done. 

Want to find a way to fill the looming holes in your revenue streams? Our recommendations and tips follow.

This is not for the feint of heart. Buckle up and read on.

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When We Gather, We Improve

I’m here at the Society for Neuroscience annual conference with nearly 28,000 of my best friends who all REALLY appreciate nerd humor. They are wicked smart and doing things that make all of our lives so much better. It's all about the science.

This is a collection of very studious folks from all over the world. More than 40% of SfN’s ~37,000 members hail from countries beyond US borders. And when they all gather to discuss their science, they are representing academic institutions and other research-focused entities from just about everywhere.

Among them are Principal Investigators, post-docs, grad and undergraduate students. And they represent all those institutions where the next set of neuroscience graduates will one day work. Yes, research leads to careers.

There is so much youthful energy here. So many students developing their careers alongside luminaries in the field.

Sitting in on neuroscience lectures is far different than the digital marketing sessions I usually participate in. Soon, I'll be applying my cortex and synaptic activity to student recruitment marketing again -- a much more familiar topic ; -)

This December, the Intead team will be attending the TABS conference on private boarding high schools, ICEF North America and AIRC all about international student recruitment. We hope you will find time to escape your desk and breakroom and join us. We will learn together and improve together. Send us an email if you’d like to find time for a coffee together.

Read on to download our Intead Index on conferences in our field. We’d welcome your input as this index needs updating. Where do you find value when you attend an industry conference? Please let us know by adding to the comments below.

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Enrollment Stresses: Oy Vey, No Quick Fixes

Everyone feels stress on the job. Recruitment and admissions teams are feeling it too, according to a recent story from Inside Higher Ed.

In Inside Higher Ed’s 2019 Admission Officers Survey, 336 admissions leaders weighed in, and the majority admitted they were concerned about filling their classes, especially in a timely manner. And not just a majority, but a super majority.

While we may wish for the stressless job, we knew what was in store when we took on this kind of work. And nothing relieves stress like the ability to point to a plan. Yet, the plan forward has so many options. Which ones are best for your institution? Where is the best ROI? The annoying answer: It depends.

Come see us at the AIRC Annual Conference in Miami in December where we will be offering a 3 hour pre-conference workshop on all the latest trend data and the actionable plans that help you move forward. Email us if you'd like to set up a meeting between Dec. 8 - 13 (ICEF + AIRC events).

So, let’s talk right now about the pros and cons of the various plans that lead to enrollment success.

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Micro-Innovations: Opportunities Speak Loudest to Those Who...

I met Jenny on a sunny July day at the corner of H and 22nd Streets in DC -- in the center of George Washington University’s campus.

Jenny’s been running this hot dog stand at this corner for 22 years.

Originally from Vietnam, she has two children currently attending the University of Virginia. With all these university ties, GWU, UVa, you’d think she works in our field of academia. And in a way, she does.

Take a closer look at that stand behind her. See the signs? Jenny is an entrepreneur and a micro-innovator. She recognizes opportunities and she goes after them. And she succeeds.

As Jenny and I talked, she shared that she sees a small boost in revenue at the end of each semester (in May and December) with her cash for books deal, in addition to the hot dog and soda sales. Her location gives her an opportunity that another hot dog vendor, at say the corner of H and 14th Streets, does not have. Her micro-innovation has proven a consistent, small incremental value to her overall operation.

It is the start of a new school year and we have so many ideas to share with you. This is no time to sit on your hands, or wring your hands. It is time to put those hands to work, get them dirty.

Read on for ideas about how thinking about micro-innovations might be just the thing that can energize your team and add up to significant growth for your recruitment funnel.

Read on...

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Trending: SMS Marketing for Student Recruitment

We've been reflecting on all we learned at NACAC 2017 and everyone we met in the Exhibitor Hall. It seems that things keep circling back to a marketing strategy that appeals to us—and one that is still developing and is prompting puzzled looks from some of our clients and connections. "How do we incorporate and manage SMS texting in our student recruiting strategy?"

As an initial primer, below we review some of the challenges and rewards of SMS marketing, and we evaluate just a few of the many partners available to help your institution use emerging and trending SMS tools. Trust us, the SMS space is growing.

But this post is just the beginning. Like so many of the emerging technology tools over the past decade, we can't stop there. We'll be publishing an SMS marketing guide and review of vendors in the SMS marketing platform space. You, as our loyal blog subscribers, will be the first to get it! Bonus, right?

Before we give you some initial SMS perspective so you can start doing a great job with this important marketing option, we invite you to meet us at any of our upcoming conference presentations. We will be presenting global digital marketing insights in Princeton, NJ at NAFSA Region X, October 23-25. We will be in Weston, FL at the 9th Annual AIRC Conference, December 6-9 and in Miami Beach, FL at the ICEF Workshop, December 11-13. Reach out to us for a cup of coffee and a conversation! We always love to connect.

Read on for some help developing your SMS student marketing plan.

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Recruit International Students in Your Own Backyard

What if recruiting international students was as easy as looking in your own backyard? OK, maybe not literally in your backyard. But, there is certainly a lesser-tapped market that is closer than you might think. (And we found this beautiful photo of a typical American front yard and really wanted to use it  ;-)

In 2014, the Institute of International Education reported that 73,019 international students were enrolled in secondary schools in the United States. And of those students, 67% were seeking their secondary diploma. Exchange students, as well as domestically-based international students, are an important target group. They have knowledge of the culture, language and education system in the U.S. and they are easily accessible in the high schools just down the road from you!

Bottom Line: There is plenty of potential for recruiting international students from within the U.S. secondary school system. These students typically have a much easier time adjusting to post-secondary education in the U.S. at a university. But, recruiting them is different than the process your recruiting team might use when attracting domestic students. If you are using your domestic student marketing approach with the international students in your backyard, you are not reaching this target market effectively. Emily can add to your perspective here and share a few tips you might want to pass along to your domestic recruitment team.

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