The past year was filled with the unexpected from the ongoing pandemic, but there was a sense of normalcy with fall travel for college representatives on the horizon. With high schools welcoming visitors and in-person college fairs starting to return, admissions staff were able to dust off their suitcases, remember the passwords for their hotel rewards programs, and return to the road. At this point in the season, you may have already tackled some of your travel schedule, but here are some last-minute reminders and ideas that you can take on the road with you.
Get creative when engaging students from your primary markets
High school students have had limited in-person visits over the past year, and with this in mind, it’s important to create excitement around your visits to high schools—especially those feeder high schools in your primary market. This can be done by offering an incentive during your visit, such as instant application decisions or free application waivers. Not only will this help increase applications, but it will also help you build rapport with students as you learn more about them from their application in person. It also lends an opportunity for more personalized follow-up communications!
Offer general college search advice to prospects
When engaging with students, keep in mind again that they might have been learning remotely last year and may not have had the same access to their high school counselors as before, making general college search information beneficial to many. This information in your communication with students could include what test optional means, questions to ask on a campus visit, what factors to consider when choosing a college, or even how financial aid works. Check out the articles and advice on CollegeXpress as a resource to direct students!
Continue to engage high school counselors
This is necessary even if you aren’t able to visit their high school in person. This can easily be done through a drip marketing communications flow with personalized messaging, including content that counselors access frequently—for instance, where to upload transcripts, test scores, recommendations, recent accolades, and upcoming visits presented in a newsletter-style email. Also consider creating a branded checklist that can be downloaded from an email; this way counselors can forward it to students or print it out to hang in gathering places!
Be aware of your goals and new trends
Lastly, don’t forget to check in on goals and find trends in what you’re hearing from others while out on the road. This is critical information that can help shape the rest of your travel and communications to students throughout the cycle. Checking in on your goals can help you decide where to focus your efforts and direct where you’ll want to visit in the spring. Plus, hearing about others’ experiences can help direct attention too. With this last point in mind, don’t forget to complete visit evaluations so you’ll know what visits and fairs were fruitful or not for next year.
Along with these last-minute reminders, if you have access to a CRM like Slate, fall travel can be made easier and built upon. For instance, you could utilize Voyager for travel planning and create customized reports and dashboards to track outreach and visits. You could even take it a step further with a territory management portal acting as a one-stop shop for admissions staff. We’re always happy to help your institution discover how you can further optimize your Slate instance and enrollment communications!