At the outset of Capture Higher Ed’s recent webinar, Graduate Recruitment Strategies That Make the Dean’s List, presenters Amanda Scott and Jack Klett described the topography of the current graduate recruitment landscape.
In the United States, there are 2,190 institutions offering advanced-degree programs; and 2.9 million students pursuing graduate studies. What are they studying? The top three programs are business (MBA), education and health services. One important trend involves how advanced degrees are being earned, with 75 percent of grad schools now offering online courses — and that number is growing.
“We’re changing the landscape on how we’re teaching our students,” says Scott, Capture’s senior director of new markets. “But are we changing our landscape on how we’re recruiting our students?”
One emerging challenge: four out of 10 institutions report a decline in international student applications at the graduate level. “That’s a bit concerning to see because of the importance of graduate education as a revenue stream for our institutions,” Scott says.
Priorities and Resources
According to the Council of Graduate Schools 2017 Pressing Issues Survey, the top three areas in which graduate deans are “very likely” to devote a substantial amount of time in the next 12 months are: 1.) Promoting diversity in their graduate student body; 2.) Providing leadership in graduate enrollment management; 3.) Securing institutional resources to support graduate programs.
Of the colleges and universities that offer graduate programs, non-profit institutions spend 2 percent of tuition dollars on marketing; the for-profits spend 20 percent of tuition dollars on marketing.
Securing resources for graduate recruitment is “fundamentally important and critical,” says Klett, a senior enrollment adviser for Capture who spent more than a decade immersed in graduate recruitment as the former associate dean of graduate studies at West Chester University of Pennsylvania and Philadelphia University. It’s vital “not only to your ability to recruit but your ability to recruit and enroll a group of students that really fits your mission in terms of diversity and inclusion.”
And this is while competition for graduate students is increasing. According to the Pressing Issues Survey, 80 percent of institutions are likely to create one of more graduate degree programs over the next 12 months; and 40 percent of institutions will not eliminate one or more programs in the next year.
What does this mean?
“All of us are creating more and more programs to service graduate students and pretty much universally we’re not cutting programs,” Klett says. “We’re just adding programs and going after this pool of students … and it is pretty intense in terms of competition.”
Tune in for more of Jack and Amanda’s conversation as they go deeper into the five big challenges facing graduate recruitment. They also discuss possible solutions and the great potential of marketing automation as a tool for increasing grad enrollment.
If you are interested in seeing how Capture’s elite software, CBE, can help with graduate recruitment at your institution, register for a free demonstration this Thursday, Aug. 31. Join Amanda Scott and Brian Sheridan at 2 p.m. eastern time as they show off how CBE can take your graduate recruitment to the next level.
By Kevin Hyde, Senior Content Writer, Capture Higher Ed