5 Ways to Get Families Buzzing About Admitted Students Day
Out of all the campus-wide events hosted each year, Admitted Students Day sits at the top. While Open House events in the fall may encourage students to apply, Admitted Students Days can entice your best-fit applicants to enroll. No two schools are created equally; therefore, no two events should look alike.
Around this time each year, Liaison’s Enrollment Marketing Platform (EMP™) team works hand-in-hand with our clients to brainstorm registration ideas, on-campus event activities and effective print and email campaigns. We have yet to figure out how to manipulate the weather during your most critical event dates, but we are working on it. For now, here are some strategies that we have utilized in the past to create more massive crowds and more satisfied families.
Contests and Giveaways
It is incredible to see how dedicated a high school senior is to win a free college sweatshirt. Whether your office has a strong social media presence, or you prefer to use old-school activities like scavenger hunts and trivia, visitors love a good prize. Families that stay on campus all day long and participate in the various activities are the ones that are clearly the most interested in enrolling. One way to gauge interest is to present raffle tickets at the registration table early in the morning and hold the prize drawing at the very end of the day. Students you see eagerly holding on to the raffle tickets after a long day of navigating campus are likely very serious about attending your institution.
Another idea that we have seen implemented is a bit more modern than raffle prizes. If your office isn’t familiar with Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook and Instagram, stop reading this post right now and start doing your research. The new class of Generation Z students is making it more and more difficult to keep up with the rapidly shifting social media trends, but when it comes to Admitted Students Day events, they will engage with your handle, even if it is just for that one day. Creating a catchy Instagram hashtag or Snapchat filter associated with a giveaway or contest is one of the best ways to get prospective students to communicate with each other and the admissions office. It is also a fun way for them to explore campus outside of the financial aid presentation, first-year student panels and listening to facts and figures from the higher-ups during the Welcome.
Topical Email Campaigns
So how will they hear about all the great things happening on campus? Remember that they are no longer inquiries. Admitted Students Day invitations should not contain information about your traditions, your history, your campus size or even majors. They should know all of that information by now if they are actually interested in attending. Try using outside-the-box content! The EMP Creative Team recently collaborated with our Client Success Managers to come up with a Super Bowl-themed invite. The client is from a smaller institution in New England, so one can imagine what team most of their accepted students were cheering for to win the big game. We playfully send three emails connecting the Patriots to the event registration. The result? Phenomenal open rates and several dozen new registrants.
Our clients have students that bleed blue and yellow, red and white, green and gold. These students are the best young salespeople you can find on campus, and many of them work in your admissions office. Use them to your advantage. We work with smaller institutions that have their student ambassadors replying to accepted student emails one by one. Some tour guides hand out business cards or offer their personal emails after a solid group tour. Other universities ask their tech-savvy ambassadors to create Admitted Student Day video invites and post them on YouTube. When you have exhausted all of your options, simply ask your students if and why they attended Admitted Students Days and what made them deposit. As much as we would all love to go back to college, our time has passed. The students on your campus today are the most similar to those you want to see on campus tomorrow.
Send in the Alumni!
If the current students aren’t excited enough to talk about your institution, have you considered calling graduates? Try setting up an “Alumni Hall of Fame” that hosts alumni from the past five decades. Families young and old will have the opportunity to network and relate to the real-world professionals that once called your school home and probably still do.
One thing we have learned after promoting campus events for a quarter of a century is that there is no perfect formula. Throughout travel season, admissions representatives recruit students and tell them to be themselves in their college essays. For our clients that require or request on-campus interviews — their best piece of advice to students is to be themselves. And when campus orientation is finally underway, the president will tell first-year students that the best way to make friends is to be themselves.
Your campus has its own identity. Its own traditions. Its own mission. And the best thing your admissions team can do to host a successful yield event is to be themselves.