Adapting to the Shift: The Student Enrollment Mindset

You’ve seen the headlines. Enrollment is declining at many colleges and universities. The shift towards alternative education options, from upskilling to career-change bootcamps, illustrates the changes across the higher education landscape. 

Students are still interested, though. These savvy prospective students have high expectations for information gathering ahead of investing in a program or certificate. Higher education marketers can benefit from changing their approach to enrollment marketing.

Inside the Shifting Student Mindset

A recent study from Google and IPSOS found that 78% of students say education is the most important investment outside of their homes. The study found that of students interested in certificate programs, 48% want to know how they can build courses towards a degree.

“The demand for higher education remains strong, with more education options available than ever before,” says Erik Edmonds, sr. director of paid media at Archer Education.

“We’re beginning to see a shift in the student mindset where they’re weighing more options when considering which program, degree outcome, or university to enroll in. Students are wanting assurances to better understand how reskilling or upskilling will benefit them before they decide to take the next step and commit.”

Evaluating Your Digital Strategy

Historically, many higher education marketers have focused their digital efforts on demand capture channels and sources because the ROI is much easier to track. Edmonds says this tactic is misguided in light of today’s new information seeking behaviors: students want to better understand their individual ROI. Thus, general messaging and creative aren’t as effective in today’s enrollment funnel.

“As higher-education marketers, we need to evolve how we’re marketing the student journey to not only showcase the experience but to better educate the prospective student on the expected value and outcome that these programs can have for them,” says Edmonds.

Rising popularity in upskilling and career-focused certifications illustrate the demand from ROI-focused students. Amazon and Google have recently launched their own certificates, often recognized by employers.

Students still look to traditional universities for education. Staying competitive in the enrollment funnel is the first step to protecting your program’s market share.

At Archer Education, our holistic, full-funnel approach to enrollment marketing starts with robust audience intelligence that informs messaging and creative. We believe each program has unique value propositions that a prospective student is searching for — now.

To learn more about Archer’s enrollment marketing and engagement strategies, click here to learn more or request information.