Recruiting students may sometimes turn out to be an overwhelming experience. There is no perfect recipe for success and there is nobody that can guarantee your accomplishment. Most marketers try to devise strategies so as to cover the whole extent of the market. But what happens when you manage to persuade a lead and you receive an application? Don’t celebrate your success just yet, you are still a long way from turning an applicant into a student.
We have run an in-depth focus group with our counsellors and have elaborated a few suggestions that may significantly improve your numbers, both in Romania and beyond.
Application Response Time
One of the most important factors in a student’s decision process is the amount of time they have to wait before receiving a response from the universities they applied to. Processing an application can take from 48 hours to 2 whole months. (Yes, there are universities that provide an answer in 2 days!) But sometimes a student may just not be willing to wait for a response for months and will choose their options sooner, just to make sure they don’t miss out on the opportunity. Needless to say, the faster you react and reply to an application, the higher your chances of being the student’s firm choice.
Send Custom Emails
Communication is a key point in any recruitment strategy, but, when dealing with a large audience, discussions become more time-efficient when done via email. A student needs to feel assured and supported when engaged in the decision-making process. Sending personalized emails is one of the factors you need to keep in mind. Send the student only essential and needed information (do not send him visa information if he is an E.U. student going to study in the U.K., for example) and address them directly in order to develop a trusted relationship. Their interest in the university will increase and they’ll be encouraged by the thought the university actually wants him or her as a student. Don’t be afraid to send many emails. It is actually better to send short, concise emails to students than to deliver a large, crowded email that may not be of any interest and will be left unread.
Catch and Retain the Student
A student may or may not have researched all their options properly. They found something about your university that they enjoyed, but do they really know everything there is to it? The major problems that students experience before actually starting their courses are financing and finding accommodation. Should you help in solving these two issues, you should significantly increase your chances of turning your applicant into a student. There are plenty of universities that offer scholarships for Romanian students, but not many of them actually advertise this apart from their website. These two topics should be approached as soon as the application comes through. Push forward the available scholarships and the vacant rooms within your campuses in order to help the students and offer them the information they need to reach a final decision.
Following Up and Updates
If you are willing to make a significant effort in order to increase the number of Romanian students on campus, then calling each one individually may increase your odds. Students will be overwhelmed to have a representative of the admissions office on the other side of the phone making sure that their interests are being looked after. These calls can later turn into conversations with Romanian students that are already on campus or even regular webinars held by students. You may discuss campus life, accommodation options or even have niche seminars regarding specific topics, depending on the courses your students apply for. According to the number of applications you are dealing with and their needs, decide on the frequency of the seminars.
Convert Your Students
If your university is actively involved in different markets and attends educational events, then make sure you take full advantage of all the benefits. Let your applicants know that you will be attending an event and ask them to stop by your booth. You may even have a small gift bag ready for them. Another option for in-depth conversations would be booking a slot within fairs in order to arrange meetings with your applicants. Some of them may not feel comfortable enough to open up if there are other people around.
If you have travelled to a specific country more than once a year, it is safe to say that you have been present in that market and offered plenty of opportunities for your applicants to meet you. If you feel though that this is not enough, you can always try a webinar. It’s easier to arrange, more comfortable and definitely more cost-effective.
As the academic year comes to an end, you may realise there are still positions open at your university. This is when you need to consider the option of attending clearing events. This may always be beneficial for you, provided you market all the remaining courses, the new requirements and the available scholarships properly. This information should reach both the students that have already registered for the clearing event, as well as prospective students that have missed the application deadline.
We hope you found this useful. Happy recruiting!