Lesson #1 in Hispanic Recruiting: Creating Trust

Hispanic recruiting is always a part of an admission office’s marketing strategy; however, it often goes overlooked. In my personal experience, Hispanic marketing is confusing to many business people, let alone those in higher education. 

Spanish media Nielson ratings in all outlets of communication seem to have doubled and businesses everyday are creating Hispanic communication budgets to tap into this dynamic market.

So what is the first lesson in Hispanic recruiting for colleges and universities? Creating trust by building relationships.

As simple and straightforward as this may seem, there is definitely more to this concept when you are establishing relationships with Hispanic families.

A recent AP-Univision poll showed that 87% of the Hispanic population expressed that they value higher education as a crucial steppingstone to success.

What does this mean for colleges and universities? Some enrollment officers point to these survey results as a key indicator that needs to be addressed in the future. For example, Regent University, which has a current undergraduate Hispanic enrollment of 6%, has set a goal to reach 15% within the next three years.

In an article titled “Making ‘la Diferencia’: How to Bring Hispanic Students to Your College” from The Chronicle of Higher Education, President of Regent University, Carlos Campo, emphasizes that college and university admission offices need to “Reach out to Hispanic parents. Many will not come to your campus, so work with social services in your area to throw a block party in their neighborhoods, and make sure you have bilingual recruiters handing out brochures with the tacos and empanadas.”

Regent University is comprised mostly of a specific generation of Hispanic students – first-generation – and President Campo has identified this prior to establishing his recruitment efforts. This is important when you consider that not many institutions truly understand the complexities of their local Hispanic student population.

Hispanic families need to trust and know your institution’s recruiters, administrators, and institutional leaders. This can be done through engaging them in Hispanic cultural community events and other social outlets available in both your primary and secondary recruitment markets.

Source: USA TODAY and The Chronicle of Higher Education

Improve Student Recruiting via Mobile


Since the world has begun revolving around social media websites as a means for targeting teens, are simpler methods being overlooked?

A recent ExactTarget survey yields surprising results: “48% of teens would rather communicate via SMS, compared with just 12% who chose Facebook. Texting also won out over email.”

With smart phone usage growing, it’s no shock that teenagers are constantly glued to their mobile devices. Why then, shouldn’t organizations take advantage of the direct communication stream this conduit has to offer?

While Facebook usage, meeting in person and email communication have remained fairly constant among this age group, “texting was the communication activity teens were most likely to report having increased over the past six months.”

Missouri State University, for example, has captured a mobile advantage through the development of its interactive campus map. By providing something students can conveniently access through their phones, MSU can guide potential applicants through the school’s campus visit and admission processes.

To find out how to fully utilize mobile marketing, check out eMarketer’s suggestions.

Clients in Forbes “America’s Best Colleges” 2010

The Whelan Group is fortunate enough to work with many great academic institutions across the United States. That said, we are pleased to announce that several of those colleges and universities have made Forbes list of “America’s Best Colleges” (2010), which was released earlier this month.

Below are the colleges and universities The Whelan Group has worked with and would like to recognize for their achievement. Congratulations!

38 – Bryn Mawr College
47 – Rhodes College
53 – Emory University
73 – Kalamazoo College
113 – Westminster College
123 – Gettysburg College
126 – Southwestern University
154 – Lake Forest College
157 – William Jewell College
164 – Trinity University
198 – Austin College
202 – Susquehanna University
225 – Coe College
252 – St. Lawrence University
263 – Stetson University
268 – Goshen College
308 – University of Oklahoma, Norman
351 – Maryville College
369 – Bentley University
382 – Arizona State University
387 – Northwestern College
423 – College of Charleston
442 – University of Nebraska-Lincoln
456 – Western State College of Colorado
471 – Central College
487 – Monmouth College
497 – St. Mary’s University, San Antonio
565 – Northern Illinois University

Forbes list of “America’s Best Colleges” (2010) ranks over 600 undergraduate institutions based on the opinions and feedback received from students.

Only 9% of the 6,600 accredited postsecondary institutions nationwide are listed, so just being a part of this group is an achievement in its own right.

Read more about the methodology Forbes uses to determine these rankings.

5 Ways to Improve the College Experience

With an economic crisis heating the increasingly stuffy recruitment environment, students are beginning to melt under the pressure associated with the admissions process. Across all institutions of higher education, spectators are witnessing an ‘impersonality epidemic’ taking control of university faculty – hardly making the situation better.

Scott Helfrich suggests that schools have a lot of learning to do. Before these institutions can truly prepare their students for life after graduation, they must do some maturing of their own. Five recommendations are suggested for colleges who are ready to make the most of their staff, and their graduates:

  1. Better provide for the global developmental care and academic success of students
    Helfrich stresses the importance of preparing students for adulthood vocationally, emotionally and financially – whilst covering every aspect in between. Many schools are guilty of forgoing responsibility for their students after they get them through the door.
  2. Be more transparent about the perils of higher education
    Even though most parents are happy with cookie-cutter details that make each school ‘perfect’, no one benefits from secretiveness. By explicitly addressing issues such as graduation rates, loan debt and alcohol use (among others), schools can prepare parents and students for college perils and recommend how to conquer them.
  3. Promote reasonable expectations
    It is absolutely crucial, according to Helfrich, that schools verbalize what they expect from their students, as well as what students can expect from them.
  4. Make the experience prestigious and sacrosanct again
    Back in the day, you probably wouldn’t have a college degree if you spent every waking moment in your pajamas – including class time. Today, graduating seniors are leaving school just as they arrived: irresponsible and unprepared.
  5. Capitalize upon educational psychology and student development theory
    As the diversification of student bodies skyrockets, so should the teaching techniques of professors. Without knowing how students “learn, develop and benefit” from their time inside the classroom, who guarantees that they will?
  6. Read more about what Helfrich has to say.

    For more information on how to optimize student recruitment marketing and communication, contact The Whelan Group.

Student’s Got Talent

Who would you rather welcome to campus: The high-school dancer who mailed you a resumé loaded with awards? Or the senior who trucked from her high-school dance studio, tap shoes in hand, to show you why she deserved an acceptance letter?

I think most admissions directors would prefer to play Simon Cowell for a day.

Many colleges have cut applicant interviews because of the cost associated with travel; however, with competitiveness rising in the admissions arena, schools and students are learning they can both profit from the benefits interviews offer.

  • Students choosing schools:
    A 30-minute conversation is immeasurably more convincing than a single-page Word document. Through interviews, students have the opportunity to truly sell their resume and personally immerse themselves in the admissions process. To top it all off, “students who interview are admitted at a slightly higher rate than others.”
  • Schools choosing students:
    After sifting through thousands of identical applications, being a member of the National Honor Society becomes hardly convincing to admissions directors. Wendy Livingston, the Senior Assistant Dean of Admissions at William and Mary, claims: “When you’re talking about students of this high of a caliber… it’s often the personal and intangible details that help [make] the decision.” Unconvinced? Livingston adds, “once admitted, students who have interviewed are nearly twice as likely to enroll.”

Universities ignoring this opportunity need to alter their admissions processes quickly, or else it’s only a matter of time before a ‘Simon Cowell’ snatches up student talent waiting to be recruited.

And besides, who is ever okay with Simon getting the last laugh?

Source: Daniel de Vise, The Washington Post