Detroit universities see enrollment boost despite area's poor reputation
- Detroit colleges rebounded from an enrollment slump through a well-developed and multifaceted recruitment effort that focused heavily on building local community relationships, streamlining enrollment, and capitalizing on positive narratives in the city, reports The Chronicle of Higher Education.
- To overcome the idea of Detroit as an undesirable city for students, both the University of Detroit Mercy and Wayne State University focused heavily on the local angle. Administrators at both institutions have aimed recruitment activities at nearby high schools and others inside the state, arranged more financial support for low-income students, and embraced their connection to city.
- Recruitment at both institutions has become an all-hands-on-deck task; administrators knew it couldn’t be left to one person or one department. The presidents themselves make visits to local high schools, and officials take opportunities to reach out to prospects in grocery stores or at area sporting events.
Where a college or university is located can have a big impact on recruitment. Convincing potential students to attend college in city that doesn’t offer many amenities, or with a not-so-good reputation, can be a challenge. However, there are actions colleges can take if they’re dealt a bad hand in regards to location.
For one, own your story and make sure you are telling it well. Clearly communicating achievements, student successes, and what separates an institution from neighboring schools is key. Highlight if any programs have ties to specific job opportunities, or if you are particularly successful at sending students to elite graduate schools. It’s especially important that marketing materials send a message about campus culture. Overall, students want to have a good college experience. Let them see how students have fun. Prospective students shouldn’t be forced into guessing what it’s like to be on campus or attend classes. Youtube, Snapchat, and Facebook good places to showcase the unique spirit of your institution
Conversely, if your college is fortunately located in a popular city, don’t be afraid of be a good cheerleader for the area. Mention big employers who might have good internships, places to dine, recreational activities and the nightlife.
- Chronicle of Higher Education How to market a college in a troubled locale