Quad Cities colleges partner to market the value of a degree
- Seven colleges and universities in the Quad Cities region of southeast Iowa and northwest Illinois are teaming up on a marketing campaign to promote the value of a college degree, the Quad-City Times reported. Their presidents already meet quarterly to discuss how partnership can increase student enrollment and improve graduation statistics.
- The campaign — "QC Colleges: Raising the QC by 4,171 Degrees" — features key college representatives and successful graduates sharing their stories in public presentations and on billboards across the region. "We hope that more students that attend our institutions in the Quad-Cities will stay in the Quad-Cities," Steven Bahls, president of Augustana College, told the publication. "The continued vitality of the Quad-Cities is important to all of our institutions."
- Half of the population of Quad Cities students are locals while the remaining come from all 50 states and 61 countries.
Colleges and universities are getting creative to attract new students and reinforce the value of a college degree.
Social media is becoming an ever-more important tool in this process. Four in 10 college admissions officers in 2015 said they checked some prospective students' social media profiles to verify information concerning academic achievement, incidences of criminal behavior and atypical awards or interests.
Yet while some institutions are using social media as a tool to vet prospective students, most do a poor job of using it to attract the right ones. Higher education is missing the mark in student recruitment in three areas: bad website design, poor use of social media and marketing to the wrong demographics.
Websites should be responsive and equally accessible to desktop and mobile users. Institutions can do a better job of creating social media campaigns that not only post popular student activities and events, but also engage past, present and future students in a dialogue.
Who institutions are marketing to also makes a difference. The percentage of students over the age of 25 continues to swell, which is a stark contrast from the archetype of the recent high school graduate who is typically the center of higher education marketing.
In February, the National Coalition of Certification Centers (nc3) held a "college signing day" to celebrate future students' decision to further their education at community colleges and career training programs. Modeled after a sports signing day event, during which the nation's top high school athletes reveal their college choices to the media, nc3's event was a collaboration between employers, community colleges and career training programs seeking new talent to fill roles in lucrative careers that have a clear pathway for advancement.
- Quad-City Times Colleges, universities partner for 'QC Colleges' campaign