College recruitment evolves with peer-based mentoring, adapts to changing demographics
- Technology is increasingly changing the face of college recruitment efforts, leading to what some refer to as "College Mentoring 2.0."
- In the past, eCampus News reports, prospective students would have likely spoken with a college rep visiting their school and, if the prospect was able, participated in a structured visit to a campus. But new tech, including Skype and FaceTime, is making it possible for these students to engage in peer mentoring with actual college-aged students.
- Done right, this allows high-schoolers to ask near-age peers in college, as well as faculty, about topics such ascollege life, academics and tips for success while requiring no cost or travel.
Given a trend toward smaller families among recent generations, colleges and universities should expect to find themselves in greater competition for a smaller overall number of students. As many institutions continue seeking more out-of-state students while also working to expand access to underserved populations, rethinking traditional approaches to recruitment is a necessity. Not every student can afford to visit a campus, especially in another state, so recruitment offices will be required to reach them where they are.
A less rigid approach that allows them to speak with actual students and faculty rather than just reps from a recruiting office can provide a more personal connection to an institution. Establishing a peer-mentoring relationship with an existing student at the institution, who can connect with them via Skype, can give prospective students glimpses of campus life through the eyes of someone who can potentially provide a virtual tour of sorts via that technology.
And as virtual reality technology improves and becomes more cost-effective, many institutions might also look to offer virtual tours for those who can't afford the face-to-face visit.
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