Getting Smarter About Phone Use in Student Recruitment

RJ Nichol
Aug 21, 2018

According to the Pew Research Center, almost everyone in the U.S. aged 18-19 has a cell phone and 94% of those devices are smartphones. With this in mind, it makes sense to incorporate phone outreach into your recruiting efforts. Considering the myriad ways people use their phones to access information is critical: phones aren’t just for conversations and texting. Liaison’s research revealed that in a recent admissions cycle, 72% of students opened emails on their phones and 54% of all student interactions took place via mobile device.

During a recent webinar about phone use in student recruitment, Dr. Keith Mock, vice president for enrollment management at Faulkner University, said that phone calling may seem simplistic, but sometimes returning to the basics is key. Though having many channels available to reach students may make communication seem easy, in some ways, the proliferation of messages and channels can actually make it more difficult to get attention. “You’ve got to be relevant — students are good at filtering out white noise,” said Dr. Mock.

While many schools have developed mobile-friendly websites and are incorporating text messaging into their admissions communications plans, some are sending far more compelling messages than others. “Text is one of the most personal ways to communicate,” Dr. Mock said. “But often, the message and format schools are using don’t go together.”

Megan Lee, admissions counselor at Faulkner University, incorporates personal details into her text exchanges with students to get them to take the next steps. For example, she may reach out to a student-athlete who has been accepted and say that during a conversation with a coach, they noticed the student hasn’t sent in a deposit yet. For that student, Megan would include a link to send payment online or a number to call back to complete that important step.

Voicemail messages are another opportunity for effective connections. Providing relevant information personalized to the student’s interest along with options to follow up via other channels can drive engagement. Take a minute to evaluate your current text and voicemail messages to see if they’re suited to these channels. Are they short? Relevant? Personal? Most important, are they getting students to take the recommended action?

Liaison’s recent webinar, The Future of Phone Use in Student Recruitment, highlights steps for making effective use of the phone in recruitment. Watch the on-demand webinar to learn how to develop effective phone outreach strategies, prioritize calls across all stages of the admissions cycle, use the phone to develop deeper relationships and more.

RJ Nichol

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Over the last three decades, Liaison has helped over 40,000 programs on more than 1,200 campuses more effectively manage admissions through its Centralized Application Service (CAS™) technology and complementary application processing and support services. The higher education technology leader supports its partner institutions’ total enrollment goals by pairing CAS with its Enrollment Marketing (EM) platform as well as the recently acquired TargetX (CRM) and advanced analytics software Othot.