The pandemic has changed the college admissions process — possibly forever. A majority of admissions offices that did not require standardized test scores during their 2020 admission process don’t plan to require those scores ever again. Despite these changes, universities are experiencing the greatest decline in college enrollments in a decade.
To combat this challenge, here are some strategies to improve enrollment both in colleges and individual courses.
How to Increase College Enrollment
The first step in increasing college enrollments is to reach out to high school students — targeting not only prospective students but also students who have not yet expressed interest in your college. Here are some options:
Highlight online course offerings
More than 90% of American adults are on the Internet. Online courses present opportunities to students who can’t take classes at traditional times and mirror the online programs high school students may have taken when COVID-19 restrictions were in place.
Streamline your acceptance process
The first acceptance letter a student receives from a university has a huge emotional impact. By ensuring your university sends out acceptance letters first, you can capitalize on that response.
Automation tools, early admission programs, and mobile-friendly application processes are all great ways to streamline the acceptance process and increase student enrollment.
Update your marketing strategies
Reach out to prospective students where they’re at by using social media to target your ideal demographic. Instagram is a great tool to show off campus pictures and provide virtual tours, whereas Facebook and Twitter can help you communicate key information, including upcoming deadlines and fun campus activities.
How to Increase Course Enrollment
A good way to increase enrollment in your course is to reach out to current students at your university. Your messaging should highlight how your course will benefit students in their future careers as well as why they might enjoy taking your course.
Ensure your course is offered at a good time
Let’s say all the students likely to take your course are business majors, but an economics class required for that major is at the same time as your course. This is going to limit the number of students taking your class. If you can, work with the university to schedule your course at the most convenient time for your potential students.
Communicate with enrolled students
When students do enroll, tell them about what they can expect from the course. Being a good communicator goes a long way in higher education, and students may be more likely to recommend your course to their friends if they have confidence in you as an educator.
Use social media
If there are openings in your course, post them on your higher ed’s Facebook and Twitter pages for students looking for classes. Highlight the skills they’ll learn in the class and how these skills can help in future careers, or showcase some of the fun projects students have completed in that course in previous semesters.
The Bottom Line
Although attracting new students may be harder now than ever before, classes and universities can appeal to students by showcasing how they fit into the students’ lives. By being flexible with scheduling and highlighting how you can help students, you can improve enrollment rates.