While the campus visit is still king for drawing potential students to a college or university, colleges are increasingly turning to digital content to generate interest in their campus and to help seal the deal with students who haven’t made a commitment.
Winona State University director of web communications Mollee Sheehan said the university has a large and growing online and social media presence dedicated to helping students get a feel for life at the university and campus culture.
“There is a multitude of social media and web information students can look at before they even get here,” she said. “Social media is a way for students to get to know the campus before committing to a campus visit.”
On the other side of the admissions process, Saint Mary’s University utilizes social media after a campus visit to help on-the-fence students pick the university. Along with a website, Facebook page, and online blog, SMU also invites admitted students to join content like a Future Students of 2018 page, which helps push them off the fence.
“There’s more competition among universities, and fewer students,” Nick Lemmer, SMU associate vice president for marketing and communications, said. “Using social media to reach out helps get people to commit and enroll at Saint Mary’s.”
At WSU, the university uses a multitude of online and social media resources to connect with students. The university has pages and channels on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Vine and others. Some of the uses for these digital resources include virtual tours of campus, and a blog written by current WSU students geared toward students interested in the university.
“We are definitely always looking for more ways to get connected and get information out about our campus,” Sheehan said. “We want to have a presence where the students are. We don’t expect them to find us.”