Marketing and recruiting across the adult student lifecycle

75+ strategies to meet your COE enrollment challenge

Strategies to build and cultivate a differentiated identity in a crowded marketplace.

While no linear path to enrollment exists for COE students, the illustrative marketing funnel depicted in the infographic below, divided into three sections—awareness, decision, and loyalty—helps to organize over 75 enrollment strategies and best practices uncovered by the COE Forum over the past five years.

Marketing and recruiting across the adult student lifecycle


All COE units must build and cultivate a differentiated identity in an increasingly crowded market, and identify the prospective students most likely to apply and enroll. The above strategies help units to build visibility in the market and attract qualified applicants to your unit's portfolio of courses and programs.


While typically a marketing funnel will narrow over time through the process of lead qualification and cultivation, the COE funnel widens from awareness to decision, due to the combination of known leads moving through the traditional funnel, and silent, independent student shoppers who appear for the first time in this funnel segment after they submit a partial or complete application form. The above strategies support units to simplify prospects' paths to application and offer value for savvy student shoppers without the benefit of direct contact and engagement, and manage inquiries and cultivate known leads through application and enrollment.


Today's professionals must constantly update and refresh their skills to remain competitive, and COE units can meet this need by positioning themselves as a lifelong learning partner for students. The above strategies empower units to encourage re-enrollment and convert individual course takers into certificate seekers, and finally into degree completers with stackable programs aligned with student career needs.

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Stand out in the adult and working professional landscape

More universities and alternative providers turn to adult and non-traditional audiences for enrollment gains. To beat the competition, your institution needs to take a holistic approach to strategy.

Download our resource for resources to help your school develop a comprehensive action plan to adult learners.

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Marketing Across the Program Lifecycle

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