From CampusBird Blog
With student recruitment as competitive as ever, it’s important to tap into all possible resources. This includes those who not only know your school the best, but who also have amazing things to say about it – your alumni! Here are several ways to activate your alumni network as an important part of your recruitment strategy.
When it comes to alumni, no other group has benefited more from their time on campus than those who successfully used their experience there to propel them into life after college. They are often more than happy to show some school pride, and help out their alma mater. As a recruiter, it’s up to you to use their story to show prospective students exactly why your school will be the stepping stone to their post-college success. Here are several ways to leverage your alumni network.
Tap Into International Advocates
Those whose lives were deeply enriched by their experiences at your school make amazing advocates and spokespeople. Your admissions department may not have an office abroad, but odds are some of your alums live overseas in areas that could be big recruitment hotspots if only you had boots on the ground to get the word out. You can use alumni to recruit students through a variety of ways, including meet-and-greet info sessions, providing prospective students with brochures and other resources for information, and helping students better understand how your school helped them get where they are today.
Host Alumni-Student Networking Sessions
Like it or not, in the eyes of high school students, most people in the professional world are considered ‘old people.’ Interested high schoolers want to get the vibe of the school from current students and recent grads, those who speak their language and can give them a feel for why this is the right decision.
That is where recent alumni come in. They are not only closer in age, but also closer to their college experience. While it’s often difficult for recent grads to contribute monetary donations to their alma mater, they are often happy to donate some time to talk to prospective students. Create a team of alumni ambassadors willing to attend alumni-student events in different cities. In addition, ask your alumni if they will attend college fairs near where they live or even speak at a local high school to share more about your school.
Build an Active Alumni Engagement Schedule
If you build it, they will come! Help create and maintain an active schedule of events where alumni, prospective students, and even parents can meet and learn more about your school. Baseball games, pizza parties, preview nights, college fairs, and more. Of course, tailor the events to be age appropriate, and make sure the attendees benefit from them somehow. Set aside time for alumni to sit down with prospective students to answer any questions they have. Make sure your alumni come in their finest school gear (maybe send them some new gear, if needed!), and arm them with stickers and other fun swag to pass out.
Highlight Where They Are
Here’s the shameless plug :)…Use your interactive map to highlight where your global alumni are located. Include where they are and what company they work for. This is not only helpful in showing the broad reach of your school, but it could also spark current and future networking opportunities for prospective students. The University of Miami uses their interactive map solely to highlight their alumni. They include the alumni’s name, business name, some information about the business, and an email contact.
Reward Alumni by Featuring their Accomplishments
Keep tabs on what your alumni are up to, and reward them by highlighting their accomplishments. This not only pleases them, but it helps spread the word about the interesting things your alumni are doing. In addition, repurpose the content from your monthly or quarterly alumni publication and turn it into content geared toward prospective students – “here’s what you could do with this degree from this university.” Post these stories on your social outlets, highlight them on your school’s blog, or create another publication for prospective students that includes these stories.
Social posts highlighting alumni accomplishments also reach further than those featured and their networks. Current students and their families are likely to see these highlights, but the beauty of social media is that you never know who might view your posts. Don’t be surprised if they catch the eye of high school guidance counselors!
Your alumni already love the school. The post-graduation challenge is in figuring out how to tap into that feeling of gratitude to boost application numbers. By actively engaging with alumni, your admissions department will be making a big step in turning former generations of students into future generations of success stories.