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3 Strategies for Higher Education Institutions to Improve Student Recruitment

The great thing about living in the digital era is that there are always opportunities for universities to strategically attract future students and create new online experiences. Let’s dive into three 3 strategies that will improve student recruitment.


In the field of higher education, your audience is not only made up of high school-aged students, your audience is also comprised of professionals seeking to continue their education, parents, alumni and donors, to name a few. They all want to see content that they feel is geared towards their personal needs and goals.

Creating engaging, personal content can be done by thinking about segmenting your audience based on who they are and where they are in the decision making process. This will allow you to give your audience more relevant information related to their specific needs and interests, and goes a long way in differentiating your institution from the competition.  

When institutions are aiming their content at prospective students who are looking to get an idea of what it will be like to study at the schools, they want to see how they will fit in. Encourage this audience to engage by prompting them to ask for more information, schedule a tour or virtual tour, apply to a specialized program or learn more about extracurriculars. A similar idea applies when content is created for your donor and alumni audience. The content that this group sees should entice them to give back to their alma mater, it should remind them of how the university or college has shaped them, as well inform them about which programs are a good fit for them to donate to.  

The expectations are that interactions with higher education institutions are informative and genuine. Audiences are looking to engage on a more personal level and through different mediums. This can be done by starting conversations on different social media platforms, email drips with valuable information. Through blogs, institutions now have a platform where they can share unique content like student features, alumni success stories. 

Cornell University has its “Life on the Hill” blog that features posts by alumni, student posts, videos and social media features. This gives their large audience an inside look into life at Cornell.

Cornell University website


Guided paths are a newer trend in the higher education space. This is the path in which a student can find from their very first visit to your site and it leads them to the information that they need to make the choice to apply.  A user-friendly, guided path makes the decision-making process simple for prospective students, by creating intentional and clear paths for obtaining degrees and completing programs. A guided path lets students get a snapshot of what their educational experience will look like. Students can click through your website to find content and information that is focused on how they can achieve their educational goals. From what their desired course of study will be, to what classes are required to be on track to graduate, and the possibilities that exist for their chosen career path after graduation. Higher education websites can direct future students to the resources that will bring the most value to them individually. This means pointing them towards a list of majors and minors along with internships and career opportunities. Your school’s site should help future students find testimonials from present students and alumni. Ensure that they are able to easily access financial aid information and apply easily when they reach that point in their journey.

The best institutions have a website that embodies a design that guides users. Your website should feel personal while effectively communicating what your institution has to offer to individual students. It should assist visitors in finding what they need quickly. Guiding future students through their visit makes that application process that much simpler for them. Applying to a university can be a process that is intimidating for many students, making the process as painless as possible with a userfriendly experience is essential.

York University is just one example of how higher education institutions can design their website in a way that creates user-friendly paths. On their home page, visitors can click on programs of study in their navigation menu. This will take users to a list of all programs offered, from there, students can choose the program that they are interested in and they will be taken to a page with all of the information that they might want to gather about the program. They can see what their first-year schedule could look like, view possible career paths and that same page also tells prospective students how they can apply.

York University website


Mobility changes the game of student recruitment, making information readily available. Offering a responsive and mobile-friendly website will help your university stand out and enables your outreach methods to reach future students on their favorite device. Especially considering that by the end of the first quarter in 2020, over 50% of global web traffic was done on mobile devices. It is important to be able to adapt to these digital trends. 

Mobile devices provide students and stakeholders alike with the right information at the right time. The use of turnkey applications for connected devices across an integrated delivery network supports communication between students and your university or college. Mobile has provided a vast digital experience that has changed the student recruitment landscape. Designing a mobile-friendly site will keep your site and its features ahead of the curve when new technologies emerge. 

Adapting to new digital trends means embracing mobile technology. The ability to seamlessly deliver across platforms means that your information is more accessible to the audiences that you are trying to reach. 

Bucknell University has made its web content mobile-friendly, this university is able to offer the same digital experience to its students and prospects, regardless of the device that they choose to browse with.  

Bucknell University mobile website

What are some of the strategies that your higher education institution uses to recruit new students?

OPIN works with industry-leading healthcare organizations. If you have questions about how to implement these student recruitment strategies or would like to learn more about digital transformation, please reach out, we would love to chat. 


Thanks for reading!

Julia Adler

Marketing Coordinator

Julia is a creative and passionate content creator who thrives in a fast-paced, dynamic environment. She uses her background in communications to drive results. Her readiness to take on a challenge and eagerness to contribute allows her to think differently with a consumer-centric approach.



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