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Social media saves money, boosts efficiency for college recruiters

Eighty-six percent of college admissions officers plan to increase their social media investment next year

A new study examines social media’s impact on college spending.

It’s no secret that teenagers today practically live online—so online is where college recruiters should go to find potential students, reveals a study about increased social media use among admissions officers at U.S. colleges and universities.

The Center for Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth this month released a study that indicates significant changes in recruiting tactics as higher education warms up to social media.

The newly released data show for the first time that using social media cuts costs for college recruiters, and as a result, 86 percent of surveyed schools plan to increase investments in these tools during the next year.

From November to May of the 2011-12 school year, researchers conducted 570 interviews with admissions officers at four-year undergraduate schools. Schools included in the survey sample were 22 percent public and 78 percent private, and represented a range of enrollment sizes and tuition costs.

Seventy-eight percent of admissions officers surveyed reported that social media tools have changed the way they recruit.

“Social media is increasingly becoming the preferred way college-aged students obtain and absorb news today. Having a presence on social media outlets allows colleges to honestly be in the discussion when students are leveraging where to apply and enroll,” said Jeff Fuller, director of student recruitment at the University of Houston.

“The key is—meet them where they are,” said Jim Miller, immediate past president of the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC).

When he began his college admissions career, “it was all about letters, postcards, and phone calls,” Miller said. Since then, the conversation has moved to eMail, and then to social media and texting.

“So we’re just moving to the next stage,” he said.

The study shows that increases in social media use have reduced the cost of promoting the school through more traditional means: Schools reported spending 33 percent less on printing, 24 percent less on newspaper ads, and 17 percent less on radio and TV ads.

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One Response to Social media saves money, boosts efficiency for college recruiters

  1. gregmarkovich

    August 10, 2012 at 6:36 pm

    Being the “God father – Grandfather” of Computer Assisted Recruitment Effort System (C.A.R.E.S.) circa 1974, Azusa Pacific Univrsity (aka APC), my intention was to better meet the needs of students in the area of information and beginning of separation, transition and integration. Be it Social Media or whatever is next if you stay aligned with your mission/vision and privacy relationships all should be fine. Our new intelligences (Social & Emotional) also provide some insights on this. By the way there are students that will keep “stats” on ROI and whatever in this area, just ask and you will have a great set of Stat Rats you can find them in computer locations and at different sporting events. In reviewing the several great companies using Facebook, colleges and universities might just think about “outsourcing” this area as they have admissions material creation. Yes Social Media relationships are real just ask xyx.com who found their spouse on line. Belonging, relating and communicating are all part of TLC. Use the solid research to set your plan in action and the Social Media people really do not need to be at “the table” they can just “tweet you”.

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