With the new semester beginning and prospective high school seniors commencing their college search, recruiters from private institutions are coming in with heavy guns.
The average private, 4-year institution spends about $2232 on recruiting a single student, that’s about 4 times what a public, 4-year institution spends. Although, there has been a surge in application numbers and prospects, the number of students that enroll in private universities are still low. About 5.55 million students enroll in private universities while 14.66 million students enroll in public universities, that’s a significant difference.
One main targeted population for private institutions are community college students, looking to transfer to a 4-year school. Some private universities have gone as far as having accessible offices in the community colleges. In addition, international students have become another popular recruitment candidate. The median cost for international student recruitment for private institutions is NINE times the cost of public institutions recruitment, $2789 versus $329. Lastly, the nontraditional adult students are also targeted by private institution recruiters; to increase staggering enrollment.
Whose interests are they serving?
Due to ridiculous tuition hikes, private institutions have been hit with decreased enrollment. By targeting specific populations, the institutions hope to boost enrollment, support private revenues they may hold, and gain funds through tuition to “keep operating”. Because of the high costs of higher education, students are more often than not, forced to take out student loans to survive.
The brighter side? But not really.
Now more than ever, we see the collaboration between the world of corporate and world of higher education, to develop recruitment strategies that are more tactful in creating a “brand name” university. The need to differentiate is nothing novel in the higher ed world, however, in recent years, the trend has been to maximize growth and branding potential on social media and web platforms. This has translated to the era of email marketing for universities; buying names from The College Board (the ones in charge of the SAT) and bombarding students with seemingly exclusive invitations to apply or, get a free application. This recruitment tactic however, does not ensure enrollment; which is why many institutions aggressively recruit students and spam their inboxes with hundred of emails over the school year.
Students’ Best Options
What makes a school “ideal”? When searching for the “ideal” school, students should take into account the school’s academics, resources and money available to students. For some students, a private education seems more “prestigious” and necessary. While, for others simply desire a degree that will allow them to take part in the great American capitalist workforce. Whatever the reason for seeking an education may be, just because a school recruits you doesn’t mean it’s the perfect fit for YOU. So, PLEASE follow these three steps: 1. do independent research, 2. don’t get sucked into a recruiter’s trap and 3. Write an authentic, kick-ass college essay.
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