Higher education landscape

What’s keeping university recruiting teams up at night: Part 3

Universities across the US are thinking about ways to engage students more effectively and efficiently.

Leslie Birch
July 18, 2022
3 min
What’s keeping university recruiting teams up at night: Part 3
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What’s keeping university recruiting teams up at night: Part 3

This is the third in a series of posts focusing on some of the most pressing challenges facing university recruiting teams in today’s ever-changing landscape. Our CEO, Rohan Pasari, and other members of the Cialfo team traveled across the U.S. this spring, meeting with heads of enrollment and admissions professionals at prominent public colleges and globally renowned private universities alike. During these illuminating conversations, we were able to identify a list of common issues that were impacting recruitment plans across the board.

Student engagement and the pandemic

Obviously, the pandemic played a significant role in the upending of plans - especially when in-person events were not possible. The inability to travel and meet students, their counselors, and families during face-to-face recruiting visits left a void when it came to successfully engaging students. So a key question keeping admissions professionals up at night seems to be “How do we engage next-gen students more efficiently?” 

What concerns universities about student engagement today?

When competing for the awareness of the TikTok generation, it’s not enough to just capture their attention at the beginning of their college application journey and call it a day. Digital platforms like Cialfo offer a number of ways to engage students and keep their attention throughout the application process using the content media that students prefer. Universities that are still using email as their primary communication method may be missing right-fit candidates, especially in China where students rarely use email at all. 

Developing effective student engagement strategies

To effectively engage students, universities need to move “beyond the brochure” and offer students dynamic content illustrating the unique reasons why their university stands out among the rest. While digital platforms make it easier for students to research college options, there are also hundreds of universities vying for their attention. Students on the Cialfo Student Advisory Board recently shared their thoughts on what types of content can help universities break through the noise and keep students engaged. Some of the content and delivery ideas they shared included:

  • Videos, blogs, and posts from actual international students at the university.
  • Short, snappy, and memorable listicles, infographics, and concise videos. 
  • More inclusive content featuring people they can identify with. 
  • Vlogs about student life, accommodation, food, local events, etc. 
  • Content around trending courses and careers and success stories of alumni.

Combining consistent, compelling content with informative online events helps universities build stronger and more authentic relationships with the students they are trying to reach. 

Cialfo CEO Rohan Pasari discussed the concerns of higher education leaders during his recent tour of the US

Cialfo adds value to student engagement efforts

At Cialfo, we are aiming to help our partner universities create original content and get in front of our network of more than 2,000 leading high schools around the world with the launch of our Cialfo Studio initiative. 

Staffed with content generators, program coordinators, and designers who are experts in engaging our high school counselor and student network, the Studio will help Cialfo partner universities stand out in front of international audiences. 

We are incredibly grateful to all of the universities who shared their experiences and concerns with us throughout our Listen and Learn tour of the U.S. To learn more about effective student engagement and other takeaways from our many discussions, download the report.

Images: Team Cialfo, Karolina Grabowska, Charlotte May

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