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— The 5 C’s of College Choice.
— Students are often overloaded by repetitive college communication that fail to answer their questions or concerns.
— The college’s approach can be unbalanced, incomplete, misleading, or ordinary.
— We’ve identified a set of key factors that colleges can use to connect best with potential students and their families.
THE s ’ The five core topics
TRIGGERS Curriculum — Campus — Community — Career — Cost — GOALS EXPERIENCE RELATIONSHIPS OUTCOMES VALUE MORE STUDENT-FOCUSED MORE FAMILY-FOCUSED
— Diving deeper.
Curriculum — GOALS The academic goals that prospective students have
Curriculum “I liked talking to my new professors and to other students who are interested in the same stuff I am.” “Not only did they have my major, but I could watch some rehearsals. It gave me a perfect window into the academic approach and experience.” “I want to know they have my major, but other options too in case I want to switch it.” “I’d like to receive more emails about various degree programs and majors.” “The top thing I look for on each college’s website are the majors.” “The reputation of the academics is really important.”
Curriculum 32% 59% are interested in service learning and volunteering 32% think a prestigious reputation is an advantage 83% Majors ranked as the number one factor in considering a college or university. 88% look for the ability to take classes they need or want 50% haven’t chosen a program or major
Curriculum 1 2 3 Top Pick Options Reputation Real World Rank Do you offer the program I’m interested in? Are there many options if I want to switch majors? Is the college or professor well known? What experiences enhance the curriculum? How does this college compare to others? 4 5
Campus — EXPERIENCE Community experiences that enhance the overall college offer
Campus “Visiting campus, I expected to see places where students spend a lot of time, studying or just hanging out.” “Eating in one of the cafeterias was great. I got a sense of what I’d be eating all year long.” “I look at the location: something unique that every other college isn’t also bragging about.” “I want to know there are things to do off campus — cool places to hang out, day trips I can do with my friends.” “All the campus tours seemed exactly the same. Nothing stood out. It was just about pointing out buildings.” “Let us wander. Sometimes the best social stuff is unorganized. Scoping out cool places is more memorable.”
Campus 83% want to know about places to visit off campus. Prospective students want to see pictures of student life more than any other subject. 61% are curious about big campus events 78% want to know about popular places to hang out with friends 78% are curious about food options on campus
Campus 1 2 3 4 5 Live Work Play Sleep Eat What off-campus activities and events are there? Are there internships nearby? Where might I hang out with friends? What are the dorms and facilities like? Do they have food options that fit my needs?
Community — RELATIONSHIPS The relationships that provide a sense of belonging
Community “Speaking to current students during the campus tour was the best part. I got a sense of the people there.” “We were given an introduction by ‘student ambassadors’: horribly overzealous and painfully awkward.” “A sense of belonging is really important to me.” “I first check out the campus online and see if it’s a place that I can fit in.” “I prefer person-to-person contact. The internet is convenient, but face to face communication and research trumps looking at a screen any day.” “I want somewhere that feels like home, a place where I feel comfortable, and for me, it’s all about the people.”
Community 83% want to know accessibility to professors 61% are curious about campus safety 80% Speaking with a current student was the only authentic experience. 61% need support services 62% are less likely to enroll if they feel they don’t fit in
Community 1 2 3 4 5 Belonging Challenge Safety Familiarity Connections Are there people that think like me so I can fit in? Will the people I meet push me to succeed? Is there a culture of safety and inclusion? Does it resemble where I went to high school? Can I meet the people that I’ll interact with?
Career — OUTCOMES The outcomes attached to pursuing a degree
Career “I want to love what I do as a career. I want to make a difference.” “I want to make a difference, so I’m attending college to get the education I’ll need.” “I want to make more money, plain and simple.” “Real world experience and internships are really imortant. I want to be prepared for anything.” “I have a lot of goals: internships, study abroad, research opportunities. Those will help me with my job search.” “I don’t want to get out and have all this debt and a degree that’s meaningless.”
Career ❤ A job they will love is more important than financial security 83% view service learning as necessary for a career 73% want to have a city nearby for internship opportunities 5th Career preparedness ranked 5th in importance Professional outcome is the number one value of a degree
Career 1 2 3 4 5 Passion Results Experience Versatility Reputation Will I be able to get a job in the field I love? Will I see financial gains from attending college? Will I be prepared to interview for the job? Will my degree and experience be flexible? Is the school or program prestigious?
Cost — VALUE The value associated with the investment
Cost “Finances made a large part in my decision — a much larger part than I was prepared for.” “I looked for the best value: cheapest, but enjoyable and offering what I needed.” “I looked over cost with my parents: the financial aid package and scholarship options.” “Cost to attend was one of my top three factors. My parents emphasized the importance of reviewing everything.” “The deciding factor was cost, and how it was tied to location.” “Initially I ask about how much it costs to attend and whether they give out a lot of scholarships.”
Cost 60% want amounts of the scholarships awarded 50% want a financial aid calendar 57% 50% couldn’t attend their first college of choice because of cost want info on average academic scholarships 30% need basic guidance on financial aid and the process
Cost 1 2 3 4 5 Worth Profit Burden Comparisons Budget What does the college degree provide me? Will I be better off for the investment? How will I manage to pay back the debt I accrue? What does one school provide over another? Due to the cost, is this school even an option?
— Redefining recruitment.
85% of students apply to and visit multiple colleges as practice.
• Students don’t know how to prepare years in advance to apply to college. • Students don’t know how to translate college terminology and jargon. • Students don’t have all necessary information to evaluate colleges.
1/ Audiences Know your best-fit students and their influencers well. 2/ Journey Plot the student journey and uncover ways to improve it. 3/ Tactics Determine which tactics will make the biggest impact. 4/ Consistency Design seamless experiences that build trust. 5/ Differentiate Attract attention for doing something memorable.
1/ Audiences Know your best-fit students and their influencers well. Engage each audience with the right information. 2/ Journey Plot the student journey and uncover ways to improve it. Fix the places where the student is dissatisfied. 3/ Tactics Determine which tactics will make the biggest impact. Edit existing tactics and keep the stronger ones. 4/ Consistency Design seamless experiences that build trust. Educate students earlier and build a relationship. Attract attention for doing something memorable. Try something new and distinct to stand out. 5/ Differentiate
If you’re a higher education professional and want to talk more about how we can help craft your brand communications, email us: firstname.lastname@example.org
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