For generations both students and parents have looked at private higher education as an investment with a view on gaining “tangible returns”. These returns whether in the form of a secure job after graduation, potential for career advancement or even the opportunity for increased income play an important role in the motivation and decision making process when selecting a preferred education provider.
In response to demand a number of college websites are now assisting decision makers “comparison-shop” for tertiary education providers by providing resources to assist with evaluating “return on investment” of the provider in question. These tools look at a variety of dimensions to assist students and parents to evaluate the institution, the resources as well as the differentiators.
- Total cost of tuition – Admission and registration fees, textbooks, living expenses, sundry expenses or equipment required
- Potential debt
- Expected future income (delivered as a market-related projection)
- Graduate outcomes and placement opportunities
Institutions that place these tools front-and-centre on their websites or social media platforms make it so much easier for decision-makers to evaluate without the risk of having them navigate away to pursue online research.
Providing students and parents with the ability to easily evaluate your institution should be the primary focus of your student recruitment strategies and initiatives. Facilitating the easy discovery of the information required for decision making drastically improves the conversions and simultaneously increases the transparency, helpfulness and overall reputation of the institution.
Here are three examples of ROI content students and parents are most likely to look for on your institutional website:
Net Cost Calculator Visibility
Cost calculators, when available, are usually hidden on the back-pages of most academic websites. This is usually due to the fear of competitors undercutting pricing or offering admission incentives and thus perceived as a risk to most providers. The problem with this philosophy is that you can’t “hide” your fees from competitors – they also have the savvy to pick up the phone and enquire or send an e-mail to your info@ e-mail address and can easily obtain the information required. Understanding this from the get-go allows you to focus on the added value and perceived benefits by communicating consistently and transparently with your prospective students and provide the necessary information for risk-mitigation to parents.
Salary and Career Opportunities for Each Programme
Most private education providers do this quite well. Much of their recruitment marketing messaging relies on convincing the prospective student that their chosen career will provide the required skills to obtain an job in a high-demand career track. Yet again, few colleges promote this content actively or even showcase alumni members that have successfully completed this lifecycle and are now thriving in their chosen field of expertise. When students are left to conduct the research on their own your institution is already on the back foot – providing the benchmark and being measured against the benchmark are two very different strategies – the latter allowing your competitors to provide the guidance.
Statistics on Job Placement, Alumni Success and Institutional Performance
If you are a multidisciplinary education provider pin-pointing all potential career paths and salaries could be a time-consuming task and even a bit challenging. Alumni surveys are a great resource for providing insight into the suitability and relevancy of the actual programmes on equipping candidates for the “real deal” and providing insight into softer elements including work-ethics and motivations. This “evidence” should be prominently placed on your marketing collateral and digital media.
International providers are going one step further and providing statistics on academic quality by providing transparency into:
- Academic quality
- Quality of teaching (based on student satisfaction surveys)
- Viability of training programmes in the current market place according to projected demand
- Professional success of graduates (According to Graduate Employment Reports)