The key to appealing to today’s college prospects is to reach them on a more personal level and engage them in the decision process. Here’s how.

collegemarketingeventsCollege recruiters rely on some tried-and-true strategies to drum up interest from prospective students. College fairs, high school visits, and other student events are can’t-miss opportunities. However, standing out amongst competitors isn’t about “brochure” information anymore. You can’t rely on a solid salesperson and simple facts about the school; you have to “wow” prospective students. You need to get them excited. Unfortunately, this process has become rather gimmicky. How do you appeal to the real needs of students?

Not only do today’s students have access to a wealth of information at their fingertips, they also are interested in learning about themselves. They don’t always know what they want to do; they just know it needs to “fit” them. They want individualized strategies for success. They want choices.  If you can provide an event that meets these needs, your ROI will be much higher. Here are the first two of several tips on how to engage students on a personal level.

Offer career assessments and personality tests.

Some students will be able to look around the room and know what appeals to them, but others will need ideas based on who they are. Find an assessment or two that is comprehensive enough to be accurate, but not so long you hold up the show. There are many free and affordable assessments out there that you can utilize to your needs. Teach staff to match programs, industries, and even schools with results. Students don’t just want to love their program and future jobs. They want to love the learning environment and culture of the school. They want to know that they will be supported along their career path in the way that works for them.

So have tablets available to take 2-3 minute assessments. Let the students print the results, and then give them options on how to use them. The most obvious assistance you can provide is to offer one-on-one “consultations” about ways your school meets their needs. Recruiters will have an easier time doing their job with a map of how each prospect will thrive.

Make it interactive.

You can also color-code results and let students find their matches. Feature appropriate color codes on program signs. Some programs may appeal to those who love details or research. Others may appeal to those who like helping people. Display corresponding colors around the room and let students explore their matches.

You can go a step further by color-coding your promotional materials. This brings a new social aspect to your event. “Blue” students will migrate toward other “blue” students. They’ll share information with each other about the opportunities they find exciting.

This idea works best at an event at your own school. You want to be able to showcase everything you offer. Recruiters can easily tie this into their other regular visits. Any time you attend an event with other schools present, sell the students on attending your event. Explain how it benefits students as individuals, and get them excited to go. Do a mini assessment and send them walking around with a promotional item. Other prospects will start to ask, “What do all those ‘I’m a green’ and ‘I’m a yellow’ ID badge holders mean?”

Remember that your school won’t be the right choice for everyone, and don’t be afraid to tell that to students. The more they know you care about them and not their wallets, the more popular you will be.

In the next installment of this series, we will dive deeper into how to engage students on a personalized level at your event. If you need plastic school supplies or promotional materials, see what Vinyl Art has to offer. We can customize any pocket or pouch with your brand in a variety of colors. Call 800-569-1304 or email today.