February 10, 2023

6 Simple Ways Schools Can Increase College Enrollment

School Resources|Tuition Options
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Because flexible financing increases accessibility to students, schools are able to increase enrollment and fill empty seats.

We get it – the stats aren’t the most motivating. College enrollment dropped 4.7% between spring 2021 and 2022, and many experts are suggesting that this decline is here to stay.

As an institution, however, simply making peace with it isn’t enough. Having low numbers year after year isn’t sustainable, and it’s crucial to set up your game plan for keeping enrollment as high as possible.

If you’re curious about how to increase enrollment, here’s 6 simple steps to help you get there.

What’s Inside:

  • Up Your Marketing Game
  • Get Comfortable with Video
  • Make It Easier for Students to Get Financing
  • Improve Visibility with SEO
  • Secure More Reviews from Students
  • Lower Your Response Times with Automated Messaging

#1: Up Your Marketing Game

We know you’ve heard it before, but hear us out. The marketing world is changing, and it’s important to keep up.

Put yourself in a potential student’s shoes — what type of content would resonate with you? If your strategy feels stale and you aren’t excited to launch the content, your audience will likely feel the same way.

Instead, look to institutions having success online and mirror what they do. Take the University of Georgia and Baylor University for example. By hopping on platforms where their future students exist and creating content that is both entertaining and informative, they’ve been able to grow a presence online while attracting new applicants.

#2: Get Comfortable With Video

It’s official — we’re living in the era of short-form video. With the rise of TikTok, Instagram Reels, and YouTube Shorts, more and more people have grown comfortable with absorbing bits of information through easy-to-digest video content. For schools, this creates an incredible opportunity to leverage video content to attract and retain new students.

It’s what platforms are prioritizing in their algorithms, which means your content is likely to perform better, too. Some studies even report that video content performs 1200% better in comparison to other formats. This comes as no surprise given that Instagram favors Reels in its algorithm, and LinkedIn video content gets nearly 5 times the engagement.

Plus, customers retain 95% of the information they watch in a video, and 37% of them watch videos all the way to the end. By capturing more students’ attention, they’re more likely to remember your content and your institution when it comes time to enroll. 

If you’re finding that static content like newsletters, traditional social media posts, and static ads aren’t generating the results you want, try implementing video content into your strategy.

#3: Make It Easier for Students to Get Financing

Creating a killer TikTok strategy will help in creating a well-rounded strategy to increase enrollment, but it won’t address the root issue — a lack of flexible financing options. Reality is, the cost of an education has grown tremendously, and wages aren’t mirroring this growth.

This leaves 38% of students opting to not enroll, simply due to their fears around the cost of an education. While you can’t hand them a check, you can provide them with flexible financing options that make affording that cost much more simple.

A lender marketplace, like Meratas, requires minimal setup and upkeep but generates long term results. Unlike the traditional loan process — which requires students to hop from site to site in search of a loan — Meratas provides you with the all-in-one solution. Students get access to an entire marketplace built for them, with a variety of loan options to choose from.

When students have the means to afford the education they desire, and when they experience less friction in acquiring a loan, they’re far more likely to convert into a fully enrolled student.

#4: Improve Visibility with SEO

SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is the process of getting your institution’s web pages to be recognized and ranked by Google. Once you’ve got a solid SEO strategy down, prospective students will be able to find your website when searching for related questions like “Best certificate program for tech” or “Top trade school near me.” 

If your website isn’t ranking in searches, however, it’ll make it significantly harder for eager students to find your institution when looking online. Nearly 25% percent will click the first link that shows up, leaving your institution’s pages unclicked and unnoticed.

While implementing an SEO strategy can take a bit of legwork upfront, you can reap the benefits of it for years to come. 

#5: Secure More Reviews from Students

Think of enrolling like booking a luxury vacation — you likely wouldn’t book a hotel or an excursion without checking the reviews. Before spending your hard-earned cash, you want to ensure the experience will be enjoyable, worth your money, and legitimate.

Choosing where to enroll for an education is similar. Prospective students wonder what the program is really like, whether other students have enjoyed their experience there, and if the program will be worth shelling out a few thousand dollars for.

To bridge the gap, encourage students — both current students and alumni — to submit honest reviews about their experience with the program. They can do this through Google My Business, sites like Niche, or directly through your website. Then, incorporate their statements in marketing materials, such as social media posts and on your website.

#6: Lower Your Response Times with Automated Messaging

Support throughout the enrollment process is key, and today’s students expect speedy response times to their inquiries. If you’re taking a bit longer to respond, it might leave students feeling unsupported, which doesn’t give them the warm and fuzzy feeling they’d prefer to have when making their enrollment decisions.

Instead, implement automation software that lets prospective students know you’ve received their question, are working on an answer for them, and will get back to them as soon as possible. The more supported they feel, the more likely they are to think fondly of your institution when it comes time to select where they want to enroll.

About the author

This post was prepared by the author, in her/his personal capacity. The views expressed are her/his own, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Meratas Inc.
The information contained in this site is general in nature and should not be considered to be legal, tax, accounting, financial or other professional advice. In all cases, you should consult with professional advisors familiar with your particular situation prior to making any important decisions. Although every effort has been made to provide complete and accurate information, Meratas Inc. makes no warranties, express or implied, or representations as to the accuracy of this content. Meratas Inc. assumes no liability or responsibility for any error or omissions in the information contained herein or the operation or use of these materials. Copyright 2022

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