Responding to COVID-19 in Higher Ed: Adopting Digital Strategies to Drive Enrollment

StudentBridge Staff |Mar 20, 2020

As COVID-19 continues to have a growing impact on students’ personal lives, the higher education industry, and the world as a whole, we are challenged to find creative and effective solutions to new problems. One major problem facing future college students is the inability to take advantage of on-campus tours and in-person experiences during this time of isolation and social distancing.

The Importance of an In-Person Experience

It’s worth considering the significance of in-person experiences in order to understand how to go about providing meaningful alternatives to students. A campus visit shows a student’s serious intention and motivation to commit to and attend a college. Being physically on campus gives students a different perspective on campus life that can influence their final decision. Simply put, in-person experiences are the easiest way to understand the fit and feel of a post-secondary institution. The figures below reinforce the importance of in-person visits:

However, with physical campus tours off the table, how can higher education professionals communicate the fit and feel of campuses to help students make their final enrollment decisions?

Emotion vs. Information

Emotion is the biggest driver of high enrollment from in-person visits and events, serving as one of your greatest conversion and enrollment tools. In these times of isolation, integrating emotion into your digital communication outlets will be important in order to convert admitted students into enrolled.

But, how can you highlight emotions to make sure your future students hear your message and engage with your content when you can't use in-person experiences?

Using Your Greatest Resources

In order to replicate the advantages of in-person experiences without campus visits, higher ed professionals should rely on their team and see what virtual solutions they can leverage. Your team is made up of counselors, current students, tour guides, resident assistants, student ambassadors, faculty and staff, alumni, and more – all of who can communicate your institution’s authentic brand story by drawing from personal experiences.

Setting up live chatbots (see how it works on our site using the button below or contact us for more specific info), utilizing social media, live streaming, texting, calling, emailing, hosting webinars, creating video content, and gathering all of your content into a specific source are ways to push your team out into the virtual world.

Before COVID-19, there were concerns about whether adding virtual aspects would be worth it in the long run. Now... it's one of the few available options.

Why Virtual Tours?

Whether your institution already has a digital experience for prospective students or not, it’s important to optimize your alternatives for more reasons than COVID-19 concerns. It’s not always easy to get in-person experiences with international students, out-of-state students, or students that have language barriers, limited resources, and limited availability. Staffing needs, natural disasters, and unexpected closings can also make in-person experiences challenging to deliver.

Based on an independent third party’s research, students who visited a StudentBridge Virtual Experience were…

Need more proof that virtual and video content is king? In 2020, 1 million minutes of video will cross the Internet per second!

For 7+ years, StudentBridge has been working with over 200 colleges and universities to provide these types of results from personalized virtual campus experiences.

Short-Term Solutions

Now is the best time to create a digital environment that maximizes the content and resources students can access. Data shows that dedicated virtual areas for specific student types increases engagement tremendously. Focusing on the different levels of the recruitment and enrollment funnel help move the needle forward.

StudentBridge can help create a quick solution using your recorded content, existing videos, photos and text, and .gifs. We even create interactive campus maps that can showcase your campus. We then provide these resources in one integrated virtual hub.

When we say short-term, we anticipate creating new personalized rich media experiences within 2-3 weeks. However, these solutions also have noteworthy long-term impacts.

Long-Term Solutions

These short-term solutions can not only help you push through the current issues but will also last through the next.

One of the best ways StudentBridge can help you build a stronger digital foundation and create a long-term solution is by completing your video content library. We can...

Take a look at these recent results from some of our current virtual campus experiences that show how effective our resources were right when COVID-19's impact started taking effect:

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StudentBridge solutions expertly engage prospective students with the outcome being better retention through better recruitment. We help higher education marketing and admissions professionals access higher quality and quantity of students with the right content on the right device at the right time.

As the world's leading provider of student engagement and lifecycle solutions, we firmly believe in the power of personalized rich media. We also understand that even the best content must be intelligently curated and strategically delivered.

Our Personalized Rich Media Solutions:

StudentBridge services include interactive campus maps, video viewbooks, production services, and more! We also offer webinars, case studies, and an updated blog to provide resources for any college or university interested in improving their recruitment and marketing strategies. Contact Us to discuss how we can help you reach your yield goals today!

Each month, StudentBridge hosts webinars centered around various aspects of the higher education industry. Our webinars offer valuable insight for higher ed professionals regarding recruitment and retention. Our most recent webinar, led by our Senior Account Executive, Drew Horne, focused on how we can make this abrupt transition from in-person to virtual interaction and adapt to the challenges the industry is facing.


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