It may still be application season on most campuses, but this is exactly the right time to be examining how you’re engaging admitted students. Our recent white paper, 10 Practices for Improved Yield Communications, takes a detailed look at the most important ideas we’ve uncovered along these lines. If you haven’t already, I encourage you to read it.
Even if you have seen the report, I wanted to highlight a part of it that’s easy to overlook but that helps illustrate just how many options exist for improving your yield communications (good news insofar as it boosts your odds of finding a good fit.)
I’m referring to 18 additional ideas described briefly in the appendix of our white paper—approaches uncovered during our research that, while definitely worthy of consideration, didn’t make our “top 10” cut for detailed presentation in the report. This bumper crop of tactics emphasizes things you can do now, within the current yield season—ideas that, due to their modest cost, short time frames for implementation, and light lift in terms of coordination, are best suited to rapid action.
Read on for the full list.
18 ideas for Improved Yield Communications
Cost and value
- Aid-award translation: “Translate” aid offers from other schools into a format matching yours, to help families make apples-to-apples comparisons.
- Outcomes reporting by major: Provide career outcomes data by academic major on your school’s website (see here for a case study.)
- Parent Facebook groups: Create a Facebook group for parents of admitted students (and plan for intensive management of the group, as parents often have a large volume of questions.)
- Parent Cc: Copy parents on important, action-oriented emails you send to students (e.g., regarding financial aid deadlines.)
- Purpose-built guide for parents of admitted students: Create a substantial “public service” content piece offering parents valuable advice on navigating the post-admit phase—from the parent’s (not the school’s) perspective.
- Social-safe response option: Allow admitted students to share photos and other content you prompt them to provide without it “hitting” their personal social media accounts.
- Aggregator page for student-generated-content: Set up a dedicated website for reposting or curating material from current students’ social media feeds; share it with admitted students.
- Flash swag contest: Run surprise contests on social media in which students responding correctly to a school trivia quiz receive a free school sweatshirt.
- Themed photo contest: Admitted students post photos of themselves wearing school-branded T-shirts to social media, competing in several categories; winners, chosen by voting, are awarded prizes.
- Post-deposit gap communications: Create a non-transactional, affinity-building monthly email series that can be initiated as soon as a student deposits, to fill the gap until post-decision-day communications start.
- List-leveraged communications coordination: Admissions asserts role as coordinator of outreach to admitted students from different college departments by making release of admitted-student names to departments contingent on review of planned communications.
- “Unfakeable” customization: Add a paragraph to your admit-offer letter that discusses detail from the student’s application in a way that makes it clear it was not generated via automation.
- Personalized acceptance posters: Send posters to accepted students with school-related imagery and personalized text/details from the student’s application.
- “Picking a major” explainer content: Even though many students will end up changing their intended academic focus, picking a major is a central concern for students during college selection; build goodwill by providing them with content that advises on how to pick the right major.
- Campus-life explainer videos: Post “guide to campus life” explainer videos featuring current students to Instagram.
The campus community
- Social media campus tours: Have your student ambassadors create and post short campus tour videos to Instagram or Snapchat.”
- Affinity-based student-to-student outreach: Have current students from affinity groups reach out to applicants who have expressed a related interest.
- Paper-based prominence boost: Develop a mailer series around key pieces of information you absolutely want parents to know (physical formats having high visibility in admitted-student households.)