- A recent analysis from Digital Media Solutions offers insight into where students are the most interested in higher education by tracking inquiries and student acquisition activities of institutions, finding that online program inquiry growth has increased tremendously. Online education volume was 34.9% higher in Q3 2017 than campus-based volume, the report said, compared with 8% higher in Q3 2016.
- Geographic volume data is largely consistent with population trends; the nine most populous states (California, Texas, Florida, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Georgia, North Carolina) are also the top-nine states for higher ed inquiries and acquisitions in the DMS analysis. Arizona, which lands at tenth in higher education inquiries, leapfrogged over four states with higher population levels.
- Health professions and programs; business management, marketing and related services; and education claimed the top three spots for most-searched potential programs. Liberal arts and sciences/general studies and humanities programs were the ninth-most searched programs.
Knowing where students are most interested in going to college and what they're most interested in studying are useful guidelines for admissions and recruitment offices. But they also are useful to those provosts and academic affairs officials trying to figure out which programs to invest in, and could be useful for officials in states near the bottom of the list, who may need to re-evaluate existing restrictions on out-of-state enrollment at public colleges, in addition to considering adding new programs.
Education was a surprising third, which perhaps bears well for addressing the national teacher shortage. But overwhelmingly, students are interested in programs that they deem directly relatable to in-demand jobs. Other most-searched programs rounding out the list were mechanic and repair technologies (fifth), computer and information sciences/IT (sixth) and homeland security/law enforcement/firefighting (seventh).
Most notable from this analysis is the rate at which online program inquiries is growing. Simply uploading pre-recorded lectures and slide decks will not help programs stand out and attract students; instructors must think intentionally about how to deliver an experience that will make students feel well prepared to compete in a global economy.