For many high school students today, it is common to take a "gap year" prior to commencing higher education. While the gap year is a time for discovery and new experiences, it is also a time that must not be forgotten by institutions wanting to receive enrollments once the year is over. To help, we have developed a quick guide on “How to Win Students’ Attention During Their Gap Year” and turn their "maybe" into a commitment for your university.
Maintain an active social media presence
While students are taking a gap year, they are still checking in on social media, perusing university websites, and gathering information. According to the Keystone Academic Solutions 2021 State of Student Recruitment report, 77% of students surveyed are interested in beginning their studies within the next 12 months. This is excellent news, as it means more students are ready to re-commit to advancing their education.
A long-term strategy is to create a marketing plan that specifically engages and targets gap year students, encouraging them to finally make their way towards your university. For that, Keystone is ready to help, and you can schedule your free demo on our marketing services here.
However, in the meantime, schools still need to figure out a way to connect with these gap year students. Even though they might not be in school right now, it certainly doesn’t mean they aren’t thinking about university or doing their research about different schools. When asked how they found out about the school they were interested in for the 2021 State of Student Recruitment report, “92% of students surveyed discovered their preferred institution online.” This means that even though students may take a year or two off before attending university, they’re still going to go online to find information about schools they’re interested in.
Today’s students are informed and willing to do their research, but they’re also inundated with information, as well as countless options. Therefore, it’s up to universities to capture and retain their interest by providing easily accessible and relatable content. One way to do this is by using student associations, groups, clubs, and organizations to help spread the word about why your university is the place to be.
Student associations play a vital role in recruiting and retaining potential and new students at your university. When researching their future university, students want to know how they’ll fit into the campus community and if they’ll find a sense of belonging. As we previously reported, “Student affairs researcher Alexander W. Astin said that students who become more involved in university life tend to have higher rates of retention and satisfaction with their overall university experience.” By sharing what student organizations and associations are doing, your university is creating a welcoming environment and allowing potential students to picture themselves at your university.
Sharing the exciting, engaging, and unique things your university’s student associations are doing is not only a low-cost way of showcasing some of the fantastic things your school has to offer, but it also helps future students begin to form a connection with your school. Once they find something they relate to, they’ll want to know more. Making content about campus life and student clubs easily available will also encourage prospective students to return to your website to keep learning more about what your school has to offer.
Here are a few ideas on how you can share what your student associations are up to:
Use social media takeovers to boost engagement and awareness
Share highlights and updates regularly
Build up your brand awareness with advertising
If you haven’t made any changes for a while to your marketing materials, now might be the time to dust them off and move some things around.
While connecting with prospective students during a gap year might feel like a bit of a stretch, it’s something that can be done and will benefit enrollment at your university in the long run. Remember, prospects want to feel included, involved, and informed as they move through the information gathering and admissions process. Additionally, students want to see how they’ll fit into your university, so including student associations is the best way to do that.