Your Higher Education Marketing Newsletter… December 2021

December… Applications are arriving. A new Covid strain adds an unexpected threat. And the New Year will soon be upon us. However you celebrate during the holidays, best wishes for a fine time with friends and family. Be well. Stay safe.

Twitter note re early marketing from Davina Gould at University of South Florida: “My HS freshman daughter just received her first piece of college mail… an expensive, highly personalized event invitation for a ‘Youth Leadership Forum’ to an out-of-state university.” And so, it begins.

Give maximum attention to what potential students want to do on your site. Keep them smiling after their first visit with rapid completion of the tasks that brought them to your site. Gerry McGovern’s Top Task webinar series continues on December 16 with “Top Tasks Questions and Answers.”

Join 887 higher education professionals on the members-only Top Tasks: Higher Education Website Content group at LinkedIn. Check my posts reviewing top tasks for potential high school students and for potential graduate students from two RNL surveys. Request membership at

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

Forward this newsletter to a friend. Only email required here to subscribe for a personal copy.

And now, your marketing news and notes for December.
Cartoon of the Month: “Spam, Spam, Spam”

Spam email isn’t just sending email to people who never asked to receive it. It can also exist in email sent after “permission” was given by potential students adding themselves to an inquiry pool. Think of overly frequent contacts extending application deadlines.

Tom Fishburne returns to Seth Godin and the original 1999 idea of “Permission Marketing” to better define what’s spam and what’s not.

Review your recruitment communications against the wise words in “Spam, Spam, Spam.”
2022 Admission Trend: Better for Some, Not for Everyone

The Common Application folk are reporting that by mid-November there was a 13 percent increase over the same time in 2019. An Inside Higher Education article notes that the increase is not evenly distributed across higher education:

  • “Within those figures is a sharp split between highly competitive colleges and universities, public and private, and everyone else.”

More details on the stats for 2022 enrollment are at “An Admissions Recovery?.”
SAT Admission Requirement: Out at University of California

The anti-standardized testing movement received a major boost last month when the University of California Board of Regents voted to accept a recommendation to no longer require a standard test as part of the admissions process.

The Los Angeles Times noted this from UC President Michael Drake:

  • “UC admissions officers have said they were able to thoroughly evaluate the flood of applicants without test scores, using 13 other factors in the system’s review process, such as a student’s high school grade-point average, the rigor of courses taken, special talents, essays, and extracurricular activities.

For a review of the California debate underway since 2018 see the LA Times article, “UC slams the door on standardized admissions tests, nixing any SAT alternative.”
Effective Story Telling: 4 Steps to Improve Persuasive Communication

Michael Stelzner at Social Media Examiner asks us to review 4 key components of story telling to get more people to take the action step we want them to take and move through the recruitment cycle from inquiry to enrollment:

  • Connect with your audience through personal story telling
  • Help your audience by offering something of value
  • Deliver a tactical call to action
  • Close with an emotional call to action

An important note:

  • “You may have an amazing, one-of-a-kind story, but audiences can’t relate to ‘amazing’ and ‘one of a kind.’ In fact, if you tell a one-in-a-million story, you’re going to impact one in 1 million clients. But if you have a one-in-every-household story, you’re going to help a lot of people.”

More detail on the 4 steps at “Communication that Converts: A 4-Step Framework for Persuasion.”
Community Colleges: Increasing Bachelor Degree Offerings

Community colleges can now offer bachelor degrees in 24 states, a major increase since 2011 as the higher education marketing landscape evolves. Permission to offer the programs usually requires an employment need in the community college area and a lack of similar programs at nearby 4-year schools.

What programs are most offered at community colleges? In broad academic areas the leaders are Business (117), Health Professions (80), Education (72), Nursing (65), and Computer and Information Sciences and Support Services (56).

See the full array of programs areas and the states that allow them in the New America report at “Mapping the Community College Baccalaureate.”

You can listen to a podcast discussing the report at “Community College Bachelor’s Degrees Gain Ground” from Inside Higher Education.
Video Marketing: New from YouTube

How might you get more potential students to watch your YouTube videos?

YouTube is introducing “YouTube Clips” so that you can share a 5 to 60 second clip of a YouTube video with your social media audiences on Facebook, Twitter, and elsewhere.

Jacqueline Zote notes that this is “an easy way to quickly share a small part of a longer video to compel followers to watch the full thing” as she reviews just how to do this.

Is it right for your video marketing? More at “What are YouTube Clips and how do you use them?”
Marketing to Parents: A 5 Step Guide

Parent involvement in helping their high school students select a college has increased in the COVID era, making the value of a parent communication program greater than ever.

Scan the guide from Mongoose Research and compare with your current parents’ communication program to see where improvements are possible.

  • My favorite was the recommendation to contact parents weekly from the start of the recruitment process.
  • Not sure what to send? Mongoose lists 7 content areas that already exist in your kit bag.

More on how to gain recruitment advantage over your competitors at “Strategic Deep Dive: Rethinking Parent Engagement.”
New in 2022: Inside Admissions Blog

Andrew Polumbo, vice president for enrollment management at Worchester Polytechnic Institute, plans to start in January a new blog featuring admissions professionals willing to be transparent re the perils and pleasures of the admissions process. The goal: give people “a peek behind the curtain of college admission.”

For a bit of context, Polumbo is not fond of standardized ACT or SAT testing nor a variety of other “traditional” admissions practices. Get a taste of his views by scanning his frequent posts on Twitter

Learn more about the upcoming podcast at “Inside Admission.”
Job Opportunities: Marketing Positions at Miami University (Ohio)

Check experience and education requirement and position details for these positions:

Most Popular in November Newsletter: Best Student Recruitment Use of Influencer Marketing

Higher Education Marketing Solutions has put together a detailed guide to creating a strong student influencer program, with examples from NYU, UCLA, Oxford, and others on TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube.

The guide includes details for an “absolutely essential” contract with your influencers. Start at “Influencer Marketing for Higher Ed: Current Students and Alumni as Key Recruiters.”

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