Your Higher Education Marketing Newsletter… April 2022

April… Spring remains elusive here in Michigan no matter the calendar as the 2022 enrollment cycle for high school students nears the end game. Maximum success to everyone between now and May 1.

Notable Twitter Quote: “I have seen the drone footage of your Old Main. And yours. And yours. I do not need to see this again.” On target from Karyn Adams, creative director at H.A ThirtyOne.

Terry Flannery, author of “How to Market a University,” is offering an online master course starting April 25 with almost the same title: “How to Market A University with Terry Flannery.” Content includes contributions from 15 higher education marketers, including yours truly. Review the content and contributors and pre-register here. Use my discount code, BJFAM, for a $20 discount on individual registrations and a $200 discount for institutional registrations.

How to increase website recruitment strength? Keep potential students 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 April 26:

  • How to identify what matters most—the Top Tasks
  • How to measure the performance of the Top Tasks
  • How to create a classification/navigation based on Top Tasks

Register for “Top Tasks Overview.”

Marketing logistics question: How do so many schools manage to create campus tour videos without any people in them? Empty labs, dining places, dorm rooms? Where do the people do during filming? See below for real people at University of Sterling.

Join 888 higher education professionals on the members-only Top Tasks: Higher Education Website Content group at LinkedIn. Join us 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 April marketing news and notes.
Cartoon of the Month: User-Generated Content… 59% Credibility

A survey Tom Fishburne cites shows that genuine “user-generated content” has a high believability rate. If people believe that it is, indeed authentic. “Influencers” don’t have nearly as high a credibility rate.

That’s an important point for higher education marketers to remember as they create stories that will positively influence potential students. The more “PR” or “Disney World” the story is perceived as, the less credibility it will have.

More at “User-Generated Content Creep.”
Jeffrey Selingo: The Problem with “Holistic Admissions”

The author of “Who Gets in and Why: A Year Inside College Admissions” in now writing in The Atlantic that “The College Admissions Process is Completely Broken.”

Selingo focuses on the large increase in college applications reported by The Common App, the intentional and misleading effort by colleges to pretend that college acceptance is difficult (he notes that most colleges accept at least 60 percent of their applicants), and the resulting extra and unnecessary stress for both students who prepare the applications and admissions staff who review them.

He makes a great deal of sense. See the recommended remedies in “The College Admissions Process is Completely Broken.”
Financial Aid: The “Read Deal” about Preferential Packaging

The NY Times recently ran an article on financial aid practices that highlighted the “refreshing explainer” at Muhlenberg College. Simply put: The more Muhlenberg wants a particular student to enroll, the better the financial aid package that person will receive. Public website statement. For the past 20 years.

See a very unusual frankness that has not hurt the school at “The Real Deal on Financial Aid.”
College Presidents: Optimistic About the Future

In the Inside Higher Ed 2022 survey of college and university presidents, the 375 of 2,992 invitees who responded were optimistic about the future of their schools.

Special notes:

  • Over 75% said their financial future was secure for the next 5 to 10 years.
  • Most felt that race relations were either excellent (10%) or good (63%) on their campus.
  • Most (83%) plan to continue “increased online learning options” adopted during COVID.

Download the 66-page College and University Presidents report.
Master’s Degrees: High Growth Since 2011

Since 2011 the number of master’s degrees offered has increased at almost every type of college and university in the U.S. More than 9,000 new degrees over all.

The Chronicle of Higher Education tells us the 10 “top growing fields.” Leading the field was “Research and Experimental Psychology” with an increase from 73 to 240 programs.

The article also lists the top 10 schools by percent of growth. Merrimack College, with a program increase from 7 to 36, leads that list at 414 percent.

“Top Research Universities” also have a top 10 listing, with University of Washington leading that pack with an increase from 115 to 278 or 142 percent.

Will there be students to fill all these new programs? Time, as they say, will tell. See “Higher Ed Added More than 9,000 Master’s-Degree Programs in Less Than a Decade.”
Campus Views: Indoor Drone Flight at University of Sterling

Here’s a drone video that you likely have not seen before: An indoor drone flight at University of Sterling that includes real people doing what real people do on campus.

Just 1:30 long as you zip through the library, the swimming pool, a cafeteria and more at “Insane Drone Fly-Through Tour.”

There’s a shorter TikTok version as well.
Enrollment Management: Critique of the Industry

Take a few minutes to review the series of 6 blog posts from New America on “The High Price of Higher Ed’s Enrollment Management.” At a future point these will be part of a new book under the same name.

Yes, these are critical of common techniques, particularly financial aid optimization, used to shape an entering freshman class to produce maximum academic profile and minimum financial aid expense.

See what you agree with and what you do not at “The High Price of Higher Ed’s Enrollment Management.”
Competition Research: Home Page Website Data in Minutes

How does the bounce rate at your home page compare with your competitors? How has traffic changed over the past 3 months? What’s the average number of pages visited and how long to the visits last? Which countries send the most visitors?

Compare your results with those of your competitors in just a few minutes at the SimilarWeb site. The basic info comes to you at no cost.

Satisfy your curiosity when you visit SimilarWeb, the “Official Measure of the Digital World.”
Website Design: 8 Points Re Website Bloat & Website Speed

Tammy Everts at SpeedCurve has written a 10-point review of why and how the size of website pages has increased over the past 10 years. If you are planning website revisions (and especially if you are hiring an agency to help with this) make sure everyone reads this article before work begins.

Speed counts. Website bloat slows speed. If the speed is really slow, impatient visitors will leave. Google search results will suffer. True fact: I clocked one college home page at 70+ seconds to a full download on a mobile phone. Unusual. But few meet Google’s recommended time of 5 seconds or less.

Read “Ten years of page bloat: What have we learned?
Most Popular in March Newsletter: A Notable Twitter Quote

Notable Twitter Quote: “Yield is more about the first interactions than the last. There is no such thing as ‘yield season.” Wise words from Allison Turcio, AVP for enrollment and marketing at Siena College.

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