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This post is written by Hannah Theis, Account Manager at Guidebook.

According to the College Board, more than 30 percent of prospective first-year students (and anywhere from 48 to 62 percent of transfer students) evaluate their target institutions in stealth mode, never making themselves known to admissions counselors. They don’t email the institution and they don’t register for campus tours.

To reach these students, enrollment management offices need every tool possible to discover and interact with those candidates and deliver the optimal campus discovery experience. And in these cases, technology can be employed to extend admissions’ reach.

Use Mobile to Court Stealth Applicants

The campus tour represents an invaluable recruitment tool. The guided tour ensures that prospective students have an authentic and meaningful understanding of what it’s like to be a student on campus. Student ambassadors guide candidates and their families through campus with rich narratives framing the broader college experience. These student leaders define and articulate the sense of home on a campus. Their tone of voice, excitement, memories, and answers to unique questions collectively develop a cultural understanding of an institution’s identity.

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How can admissions professionals capture that experience and deliver it to the stealth applicant? It’s a unique challenge as enrollment management professionals recruit the Class of 2021.

With the right use of mobile technologies, college administrators can:

  • Connect with students that are visiting campus on their own and engage would-be stealth applicants.
  • Build a sense of community through a digital strategy to continue the conversation post-campus visit.

From the point that prospective students begin to build digital, online, and internet identities with institutions, they also begin to establish expectations and assumptions for engagement with higher-ed institutions.

In this mobile-first world, more prospective students’ research — and development of their ideas about what it’s like to be a student on a campus — occur on a smartphone. With 85 percent of students owning and spending 8-10 hours on their mobile devices per day, it’s understood that a majority of this discovery can happen right where they are most comfortable: on their mobile devices.

To better meet and articulate a sense of home on a college campus, and share it among diverse student experiences, admissions counselors can extend their reach through mobile technology. Mobile tech does this by providing an open and flexible environment to meet prospective students with diverse student narratives. And, it articulates relatable experiences rooted in shared identities, ideas of success, and expectations of life on campus.

Admissions professionals now have the opportunity to track the digital footprint that students are leaving as they explore campus through self-guided tours delivered via completely branded mobile apps.

Framing this new age of technology as a time of opportunity — rather than a time of challenge — allows university professionals to garner more leads and track interest more effectively all while developing an online community for prospective students and their families.

These GPS-led “virtual” tours capture the excitement of an ambassador-led tour through recorded narration from those same student leaders. They can offer multi-lingual experiences to address the prospective population of international students, and the means to contact admissions officers directly. All these capabilities provide the opportunity to build on the excitement evoked from the student’s initial visit by engaging them through mobile, post-visit.

Learn how the University of Oregon, NC State, and more use mobile tech and self-guided campus tours to remain competitive and address the needs of the mobile-first class of 2021. Download the Higher Education Success Kit to get university case studies, a student lifecycle playbook, and access to an on-demand webinar.


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Higher Ed Live

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