Recruiting to Today's Generation

Three factors that changed recruitment

The Problem

A domino effect is occurring that is changing recruitment forever. In this playbook, we will outline three factors that have created this chain reaction and how to shift your recruitment strategy to overcome them.

Key Takeaways:

  • The Common App has made conveying uniqueness and culture critical
  • Changes in population density have resulted in marketing location
  • Maintaining enrollment is the new focus, increasing the value of brand awareness


The Catalyst: The Common App

According to NACAC, 30% of students report applying to seven or more colleges each year. 

Students are applying to more schools than ever. Previously, they would learn about an institution's uniqueness, culture, values while on a campus visit. However, since the Common App, not all applications lead to a physical visit.

Today it is vital to proactively provide the physical visit experience without the student ever stepping foot on campus. Generation Z wants more information, and they want it on their terms.  Virtual tours that go beyond maps and photos provide them the opportunity to identify schools that align with personal and educational goals. It is the immersive experience that allows them to truly "experience it."

See how this 360 photo uses super content to give a more in-depth look at student life. Take a look around and immerse yourself in this campus wiffleball game. Words and flat photos alone can only tell so much of your story; Super content allows you to bring that story to life!


Migration Patterns

According to the most recent US census, the number of people below the age of 18 in the Northeast region of the United States is falling behind all other regions. In fact, other graphics show this number as being in the 40th percentile of the country. 

This population decrease created a domino effect. In an effort to increase enrollment, Northeastern schools increased their focus on enrolling out of state students. Their focus on out of state students created new competition for other regions’ in-state students. The recruitment strategy; location, location, location. 

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The location of your college is an essential part of your story and appeal. Geography has value. Aligning your messaging to show what makes your geographic area unique can attract prospective students who are interested in what your school has to offer.

All these things seem like second nature to you but to a student who has never been to your campus, these are new and exciting adventures.

Promote location:

  • Tempt students to see what life is like in a big city
  • Highlight your proximity to the ocean
  • Offer students a chance to ski in the nearby mountains
  • Show students how easy is it to hike outdoors

Do more than show what makes your location great. Give students a way to truly experience it on your edu site!


Student Debt

Generation Z has been surrounded by news of student debt for as long as they can remember. Thus causing this younger generation to be concerned that the value of college does not outweigh the cost of attending. High school students are seeking alternative routes to a college degree.

"When institutions provide virtual experiences on their websites, student applications increase substantially. After seeing Millennials struggle to secure jobs, Gen Z expects institutions to prove the value of their education."

Excerpt from Hanover Research
Trends In Higher Education (2019)

Decreasing Enrollment

As far back as 2011, National Student Clearinghouse Research Center reports an average decrease in students enrolling across almost every type of university. Since then, the numbers have continued to decline by around 1% each year. Gone are the days of aiming to increase enrollment. The new goal?  Maintaining.

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While it’s correct to say college is not for everyone, the number of high school students choosing to enter straight into the workforce is increasing.  According to the Bureau of Labor, Statistics, that increase is close to 1% over the past two years. Traditionally we have seen a rise in high school graduates entering the workforce when the economy is good, and a surge of students going to college when the economy is doing worse. This mindset, however, is formed from students not understanding the real value of a degree. In 2018, with only a bachelor’s degree, the median wage gap sat at $907 per week above those with only a high school diploma. The value of education is always there; we need to be better at continually expressing it.

Non-Traditional Education

In the age of YouTube University, Generation Z loves to learn things on their own and in their own time. Because of this fact, many members of this generation are considering alternative, non-traditional, education options such as coding boot camps. Since the inception of this industry in 2013, boot camps have seen a 9x growth in the number of enrolled students. This growth shows students are looking for quicker, cheaper ways to enter the workforce.

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What Can We Do

Brand awareness has never been more important, and the easiest way to build awareness and loyalty is by engaging younger students. By recruiting younger, schools can attach the idea of going to college with their particular college. Come senior year when a student thinks of continuing their education, you will instantly pop into their mind. Having a student feel like they are already “bought in” to your school long before the time comes to make a choice will make the decision feel second nature.

For the most part, this younger persona seeks engagement but does not want in-depth information, with an exception. The information that is important to show this generation is the kind that would convince them of the value of higher education. Showing them practical data on job placement after graduation, the number of scholarships offered, the percentage of students who graduate debt-free, etc. will reinforce the benefit of education outweighs the cost.

Don’t just tell them college is worth it, show them.

About YouVisit

YouVisit is the only platform that gives you the ability to transform your traditional content into experiential content. This new super content weaves multiple media types into one asset. This asset can be embedded in your landing page to provide an immersive experience across your website which will evoke powerful emotions and increases conversions.


  • Use storytelling to differentiate
  • Your school's location extends past campus
  • Show them the value of a college degree