Your Higher Education Marketing Newsletter… May 2021

May… While many people, famous and otherwise, celebrated the arrival of “College Signing Day” as if May 1 was an athletic contest deadline, most colleges and universities will continue recruitment further into the summer than usual this year. To all of you in that category, best wishes for the success you need.

“Highly rejective colleges” seems to be a new phrase on Twitter this spring, possibly in reaction to announcements of increased waiting lists. Be interesting to see if NACAC sessions this year use that title. See the creative presentation from Jens Larson below.

Gerry McGovern continues his series on “Top Tasks Questions and Answers” on June 8. Ask Gerry any question you have on how to stop your website visitors from getting nibbled to death by tiny tasks. Register at “Top Tasks Questions and Answers.”

Join 869 higher education professionals on the members-only Top Tasks: Higher Education Website Content group at LinkedIn. Request membership at

Follow along with 7,200+ people for my daily marketing updates on Twitter.

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And now, your news and notes for May.
Cartoon of the Month: Realistic Social Media Metrics?

How do you measure the success of your social media marketing?

Tom Fishburne highlights 5 “social media dashboard” favorites starting with “Cringy TikTok Videos” at “metrics, metrics everywhere.”
Student Recruitment: COVID-19 and high school students in Fall 2021

Most students in this Carnegie Dartlett survey plan to enroll somewhere in fall 2021.

  • 65 percent expect to be vaccinated. Only 12 percent will refuse if required to enroll.
  • Social distancing and mask requirements are not a problem for most students.
  • Only 3 percent anticipate delaying enrollment past September.
  • “No confidence” and “Low confidence” in ability to pay is high.

Thank Carnegie for not requiring name, rank, and serial number to view and download the 24-page report at “Fall 2021 COVID-19 Impact.”
Social Media Marketing: 4 ways to use TikTok for higher education marketing

Are you using TikTok as part of your social media marketing? The folks at TerminalFour make the argument for TikTok as the 3rd most popular social media channel after Facebook and YouTube, including 49 percent of U.S. teens.

TerminalFour cites “a highly engaged demographic, low production costs, and targeted ads available.” You can create “look alike” profiles so you guide contact to people who match those who already enroll at your school. That’s the cost-effective way to do social media advertising using a time-proven direct marketing technique.

TikTok examples from Newcastle University, University of Washington – Pullman, and Pepperdine University are included at “The universities making TikTok Work.”
Video Marketing: Creating a TikTok Ad

If you are already using TikTok or planning to start, check Naomi Nakashima’s helpful 4-step guide to creating effective ads from the convenience of a desktop computer rather than using a mobile app.

Visit “TikTok Video Editor: Creating TikTok Videos Without the Mobile App.”
College Admissions: The “Highly Rejective” Admissions Model

Jens Larson, associate vice president for enrollment management at Eastern Washington University, outlines 5 admissions pools at colleges that accept very few student applicants, from the “uber wealthy” to the “not rich philanthropists.”

For the details of his imaginative and not-so-inaccurate review of a specialized admissions world, visit “the new highly rejective admissions model.”
College Admissions: Dartmouth College and Student Athletes

US News asked Ivy League schools to explain the difference between much higher acceptance rates for early applicants that for regular decision folk. Five of eight schools responded. Missing: Harvard, Yale, Cornell.

Kudos to Dartmouth College for noting this element on its website: “Keep in mind that the published higher percentage of applicants accepted early is somewhat misleading because it includes recruited Division 1 athletes, whose credentials have been reviewed in advance.” Eliminate athletes, says Dartmouth, and the acceptance rates are not so different

To be fair, preferred Division III student athletes have been known to get an acceptance boost as well.

More on Ivy League admissions at “What it Takes to Get Into the Ivy League.”
Ethnicity Enrollments: Check by state, school, Carnegie type, degree level, and more

How widespread is ethnic diversity in higher education? Jon Boeckenstedt has compiled the answer for over 5,000 college, universities, and institutes so that you can easily compare your school to your competitors.

Numbers and percentages are available for American Indian, Asian, African American/Black, Hispanic, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, Unknown, Multi-racial, White, and international students.

Delve into the 2019 data at “Another look at enrollment and ethnicity, 2019.”
Website Design: Do users hate website design changes?

Step back to an April 1 report from Nielsen Norman Group that artfully skewers 5 major reasons often put forth as reasons for redesigning a website. Fact is, of course, that most people do not “love change because it fulfils a human need to consistently learn and adapt to their environment.”

Before you start on a major website redesign have your team read and discuss “Users Love Change: Combatting a UX Myth.”
Marketing Jargon: The Marketing Gibberish Generator

Compare the marketing language you use with a creation of the Column Five agency: The Marketing Gibberish Generator. Each time you “Hit Me” on the page you get a collection of words that you can be sure the general public won’t understand… but might impress people at your next marketing convention.

Two of my favorites: “Long-tail dynamic content” and “Snackable content.” Have your marketing team compare their favorites at your next meeting.

Words, phrases, and sentences to avoid at “The Marketing Gibberish Generator.”
Marketing Employment: Missouri University of Science and Technology

The university is searching for a “Senior Marketing Consultant” with a salary range of $53,600 to $66,448.
Applications are accepted until May 14. The detailed job description is here.
Most Popular in April Newsletter: What students say about ACT, SAT recruitment contracts

What do high school students say about recruiting contacts that start with the purchase of ACT and SAT names? Scan 84 comments (“I just wish someone loved me as much as random colleges in the middle of nowhere that I have no interest in attending” and “Hofstra is stalking me”) on Reddit.

Agencies that provide or recommend never ending, multi-contact communication plans have no incentive to do otherwise. Check the reaction from students who feel stalked and harassed.

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