Recruit & Retain (Broward College)
A New Direction for Student Recruiting
- By Annaleah D. Morrow
- October 1st, 2015
Embracing technology has taken some of the guesswork out of recruitment and made potential students more comfortable with the Broward College admissions process.
As the first and largest higher education institution in Broward County, FL, Broward College has always been a trailblazer, with a reputation for the pursuit of excellence and a commitment of service to our diverse communities. Founded in 1960, we serve approximately 70,000 students from more than 175 countries, with four campuses, nine local centers and several international and partnership centers.
Over the last 10 years, Broward has grown significantly, expanding our degree programs, workforce partnerships and options for learning, both in the classroom and online. With students at the heart of our mission, this growth has made us look more closely at our student recruiting process to ensure that we have global reach in connecting with and tracking potential prospects, and building meaningful relationships that will inspire them to attend our school.
Recruiting hasn’t always been easy at Broward. One of our biggest challenges was not having an effective way to capture and track conversations with prospective students, with recruiters relying on paper forms for prospect information that could be lost or illegible. After prospect events, our recruiters would have to manually input these forms into our old system, an exhaustive and inefficient task that created delays in our recruiting process and could result in missing information.
To address this challenge, we selected Workday Student Recruiting, the first application to be rolled out as part of Workday Student — the first true cloud information system for higher education. We have been a design partner of this new system, working with Workday and other universities to outline some of the pressures and challenges we face, and how recruiting needs to change. The new application is transforming the way we recruit.
The Benefits of Going Digital
In the past, we’ve depended on remembering to contact a prospect or putting a reminder on the calendar. Now, the recruitment process is automated, and we are certain that we have engaged with a prospect every step of the way. Our connections with prospects are also meaningful and personalized based on their interests and goals, with a consistent message that reflects who we are at Broward. We can also target potential students for specific programs that we want to develop or grow.
Today’s students depend on their mobile devices to access information, connect with others, and even study. In fact, recent research from McGraw-Hill Education and Hanover Research states that 81 percent of students on college campuses use their mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, to study. At Broward, we want to connect with prospects, especially the younger generation, in ways they are used to communicating. With Workday Student Recruiting, our recruiters are now mobile, with more than 35 tablets to use during recruitment events, high school visits, and when they go into the community. While on the road visiting high schools, it tells our recruiters exactly where they are going, uses GPS to tell them how to get there and provides them with background on who they are meeting with for each recruiting visit. They can also sign up prospects directly into the system from their phones and tablets, recording notes from conversations that will help personalize future communications.
We’ve already seen success. In April, more than 18,000 prospects attended Broward’s open house, where we had multiple tablets at stations throughout the event, freeing up recruiters and staff from being tethered to a table. Even Broward’s president, J. David Armstrong, Jr., now uses his tablet to recruit students, something that young people are very drawn to and comfortable with approaching.
With every recruitment event, we are inputting more data into the system and learning so much more about our prospects and students. We are able to look at data in multiple ways for insights into the success of campaigns and events, progress on recruitment strategies, and the needs and interests of our prospects. As we work more with the data, we are learning what information we need to collect and how we need to input it into the system to get the insights we want.
We have only just begun exploring the possibilities of how these modern tools and capabilities are going to help us recruit students to Broward. We know that prospects are no longer going to slip through the cracks, and that we are effectively building relationships with them. We are all moving in the same direction, which is the right direction for us.
This article originally appeared in the October 2015 issue of College Planning & Management.
Annaleah D. Morrow, Ph.D. is associate vice president for Enrollment Management & Student Success at Broward College.