Choosing  the right school is one of the most important decisions that prospective students and their parents make. No wonder the 2015 median earnings of people with a bachelor’s degree were 67% higher than that of those who hold only a high-school diploma. So, a good education is the cornerstone of success, which is why you can expect prospective students to conduct detailed research before they make up their mind. The question is, how to make your school stand out from the competition? Your website holds the key to attracting top talent, getting them to enroll at your school, and remain an informed and successful student. Use these student engagement strategies to boost your university’s enrollment and retention rates.  

Strategies to Boost Student Engagement

Showcase Your Curriculum

The more informative your website is, the better.

The best college websites provide all the necessary details about the courses and degrees offered and make them easily accessible. Effective website navigation is crucial for bringing this important information to your visitors’ fingertips. The home page should feature a direct link to the programs and degrees page so that it’s always no more than three clicks away from any page of your website.

Go the extra mile, and include more than just a list of courses and their short descriptions. Break down these courses into semesters, include videos and testimonials of the existing students and alumni talking about these programs and their benefits, or even add salary estimates for a particular degree.

Mobile Friendliness Is a Big Deal

Younger generations are practically glued to their smartphones.

Their parents are not far behind on this trend either.

In other words, the odds are that many of them will visit  your website from their mobile devices. A survey has shown that 1 in 5 Americans uses only their smartphone to access the internet. So, the worst thing you can do is serve them with a mobile-unfriendly website.

The result – your bounce rates will soar and your enrollment rates will suffer.

Mobile optimization is key in order to connect with a majority of your higher ed audience.

Mobile optimization is key in order to boost student engagement and connect with a majority of your prospective students.

By optimizing your website for mobile you will improve engagement and conversion rates.

You can additionally boost your prospective students’ interest and engagement if you create a mobile app which will help them learn more about your school and why it is the best option for them. To make sure that this game-changing solution will be well-designed, apply filters and search through this list of reputable app development companies and find your match.  

Regular and Timely Feedback

This option is of vital importance both if you’re running a regular, bricks-and-mortar school or online courses because students (and their parents) want to be able to get in touch with the enrollment advisors and teachers to regularly get information about application details and their academic performance.

If student engagement is not met with the right information, these prospects may lose interest and move on to the next schools on their list. The same effect can be seen among current students who transfer after a lack of connection with their university. To drive enrollment and retention, an institution must prioritize student engagement strategies to respond quickly, directly, and personally.

But, is it always possible to provide feedback in a timely manner? Only if you hire additional operators who will be available 24/7, and that’s too expensive and impractical.

Timely Feedback

AI-powered chatbots implemented into your university’s website and Facebook page can pick up the slack and respond to teachers’, students’, or parents’ questions at any time. An example of this is the Genie of Deakin University in Victoria, Australia. This smart assistant is supported by the IBM Watson NLP computer system, a groundbreaking technology which mimics human cognitive capabilities. The Deakin Genie helps the students navigate the campus, informs them about the latest deadlines that they have to meet, answers all their questions about life on campus, and helps them with anything they need.

If your university is struggling to find resources to effectively manage lead flow or student inquiries, Circa Interactive provides cost effective solutions to help organizations engage with prospective students instantly, anywhere, anytime. If you would like to learn how Circa Interactive uses AI chatbots to enable prospective students to take the next step toward enrollment, please visit our automated chat services page.

Regular Feedback

When it comes to feedback from educators, scoring essays is one of the biggest challenges that online professors face since they can have as many as 1,000 students waiting to get the results of their literary efforts.

Enter Automated Essay Scoring (AES).

This sophisticated NLP-based technology is still in development, but its main goal is to help teachers grade essays more efficiently. However, there’s strong opposition from those who claim that such an algorithm can’t grade academic papers accurately and without human interference. Still, with the latest advancements in the field of machine learning and artificial intelligence, it seems that we’re not too far from its implementation.

Address Their Problems and Offer Solutions

There’s no better way to engage your potential students than by addressing their problems and helping them find solutions.

A blog is a perfect tool for this.

But before you start producing content, make sure to find out more about what your target audience needs. Don’t use your blog only to promote your school as can come off as too self-serving.

Talk to your existing students, or even better recruit them as bloggers who will share their personal opinions and first-hand experiences about your school. 92% of people are more likely to trust recommendations from others over the content generated by brands, which means that UGC will help you build credibility with your prospective students.

Don’t forget about your professors as they can significantly contribute to this project. Invite them to participate and tell something about themselves and their courses. But make sure that a minimum of academic jargon is used in these blog posts because the point is to connect with young people who prefer an informal tone, possibly jazzed up with some humor.

Leverage an Omnichannel Approach

Besides optimizing your website, it’s a good idea to take your interaction with your students to the next level. This is of critical importance, especially for online courses, since there can be little to no face-to-face communication. Email has become inundated with messages from every  channel, so it’s a good idea to tap into the power of social media platforms.

The first step is adding social media buttons and IM widgets to your website.

Live chat, IM groups, social media groups, and discussion forums can be helpful for sharing important information or student collaboration.

Twitter, being one of the most popular and fast-paced social media platforms, offers a fun and effective way to inform your students about their assignments and deadlines, as well as to provide them with online resources they can use. Professors can also host live twitter chats on curriculum topics or industry trends to foster student engagement among those in the class.  

 

First impressions are the most lasting, and it’s your website that plays an important role in positioning your school in a favorable light and driving student engagement.

 

Angelina Harper is a content creator with a background in digital marketing. In her free time, she enjoys reading, watching tutorials and camping.

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