A Net Price Calculator Fit For A Princess

“Officials at many colleges have come to see the net-price calculator as something that could make a big difference in their admissions outcomes, rather than a routine matter of compliance.” (Beckie Supiano, The Chronicle of Higher Education)

There’s no doubt that newly mandated college calculators are a valuable resource to students searching for the school with the “glass slipper fit”. A new idea, however, suggests that these nifty number-pluggers are more than just a calculation tool but an extension of the school’s brand itself.

Why, then, would it be valuable for schools to invest in a generic calculator—one kin to calculators featured on competitors’ websites?

Federal-issued calculators are bone dry on the customization level. Clients who choose to invest in calculators developed by mainstream companies—such as College Board—will just have the “custom features” of their website’s design plugged into an even bigger calculator (one yielding the same ‘answer’ for all of its clients in terms of web design).

When it comes to customization (i.e. incorporating custom financial information and branding into a completely unique net price calculator), federal and highly commercialized calculators are the evil stepsisters chasing that glass slipper.

To experience the functionality and customization that The Whelan Group’s Net Price Calculators offers, read more and then schedule a demo.

Clients looking to develop a calculator through TWG can do so at a discounted price before the clock strikes midnight on December 31st.

For questions or details, contact us.

Higher Ed Marketing – The Greatest Sin

College marketing doesn’t have a ‘sinful’ track record; Michael Fienen’s recommendations for successful recruitment, however, advocate a change of course.

  1. Pride: Does your school’s website showcase pride? Above mindless quick links or upcoming event listings should be information about student accomplishments and awards, businesses hiring your graduates, etc. Take time to properly position this information, as well – you might gain the most prospects by planting these details on a Student or Campus Life page.
  2. Gluttony: ‘Gluttonous’ schools market their main attributes in a number of different ways. Whether highlighting the free student Rec Center or the 24-hour campus café, “product features” should be clear to all prospects visiting your website.
  3. Sloth: Students (and Internet-users in general) are lazy, necessitating a short and sweet application process. The simpler it is to navigate around your website, request information or watch an embedded video of your mascot doing the Macarena, the better.
  4. Envy: Get students and alumni involved in “cool” things (i.e. things that ‘outsiders’ do not have access to). Don’t broadcast these events and promotions to students and alumni alone – let everyone know what you’re doing so they’ll envy your creative ‘insider’ perks.
  5. Lust: Interaction with your prospects needs to be rich if you want them lusting after you. Rather than writing copy (identical to all other college websites) about how great your dorm rooms are, prove it. Include pictures, student feedback, or virtual tours – just don’t forget to pick up the dirty gym socks in the corner first.
  6. Greed: What do you have to offer your students? College websites should clearly delineate financial aid numbers, job/career resources and even opportunities to get free food or t-shirts.
  7. Wrath: Wrath refers to the community’s opinion(s) about your school (namely, the negative). Public issues that arise should be handled professionally and unfavorable criticism should be acknowledged as “constructive feedback”. If you’ve built a reputable name for your school, fans and followers will come to your defense.
  8. Michael Flenen has more to say about college marketing in his article “Using the 7 Deadly Sins in Higher Ed Web Marketing”.

GaGa For Email

At least, that’s how Loren McDonald would like to feel. As many wait anxiously to witness the next ‘big performer’ in the marketing arena, McDonald roots for email to “embrace its inner Lady Gaga” for a sexier stage presence amongst other media outlets.

In a world where mass media reigns supreme, and social media trends closely behind, email is regrettably becoming overlooked. Considering the benefits the former options offer, why should marketers include an email component in all of their clients’ campaigns? The answer is simple: Because it works.

“Email allows brands to send messages according to their schedule, and it allows consumers to respond at their leisure. Consumers don’t like being interrupted by brands and email provides them a channel where they feel in control.” (Morgan Stewart, MediaPost.com)

When email is done right – and a happy medium is found between bombarding target audiences versus leaving them high-and-dry – compelling content can be extremely enticing to current and potential consumers of any brand. In addition to email’s capabilities on the design/content front, “email is still where consumers, on average, are the most likely to engage with brands online”.

It’s time to nix the efforts wasted on a ‘cool’ Facebook page or custom Twitter background. Consumers want content, not clutter. So, let’s avoid TiVo and inattentive TV viewers – email is guaranteed to make it to consumers’ inboxes (I’d like to see Lady GaGa do that).

Check out creative interactive solutions on The Whelan Group’s website.

Lesson #2 in Hispanic Recruiting: Religious Influence

Every college and university has an opportunity to service this unique upcoming bicultural student population. That said, here are some critical questions educational leaders need to keep in mind when trying to understand the important role spirituality and beliefs play in prospective students’ college choice.

  • What existing religious organizations or interest groups are on your campus?
  • How is your institution supporting them?
  • Have you attended a religious event or program on your campus?

Why? ¿Por qué?

Like many U.S. Hispanic’s, I recall learning the traditional 15 mysteries of the Rosary (Spanish translation “El Rosario”), before ever learning my ABC’s in English [and Spanish]. 

As a spiritual advocate, and using his Latino roots to embrace the significance of faith among Hispanic students, President Carlos Campo at Regent University has evidently also experienced this religious connotation personally and professionally.

“Hispanics make up nearly 30 percent of the Roman Catholics in the United States, and some researchers predict that half of all Latinos will belong to Protestant faiths by 2025,” President Carlos Campo, Regent University.

Does this mean that only faith-based and religious-affiliated institutions have a better chance of understanding the Hispanic student over public institutions?

Not necessarily. Institutions of all shapes and sizes will have interest group opportunities or programs that develop and promote multiculturalism.

A great example of these are Hispanic and Latino student association, and the National Association of Latino Fraternal Organizations (Latino-based Greek organizations). 

As a college freshman I explored the campus to find students organizations and groups that aligned with my interest. It took me months to find a Spanish-speaking, Catholic-based interest group on campus. Not because it wasn’t on the campus, it just wasn’t advertised through proper communication channels.

This brings up another important question for your institution to consider: What communication channels does your institution use to promote diversity on your campus?

Janet Reyes Director of Hispanic Enrollment Solutions The Whelan Group

Sources: http://pewhispanic.org & Making ‘la Diferencia’: How to Bring Hispanic Students to Your College

#IWantAnA

The “Social Media Takeover” is quickly covering new ground – ground that has skeptics grimacing and students cheering… In less than 140 characters, of course.

A soon-to-be-released study done by the Journal of Computer Assisted Learning “suggests that using Twitter in class might in fact lead to greater engagement and higher grades – as long as professors harness their students’ urges to Tweet for ‘educationally relevant activities’” (Source: Inside Higher Ed).

The study was conducted among first-year pre-health majors who, before the study began, couldn’t have carried on a conversation about anything Twitter-related; by the end of the course, however, their Twitter know-how had helped harness class discussion, student relationship-building and GPAs half a point higher than the non-Tweeting control group.

Is classroom productivity being threatened by the ultimate procrastination tool? The spokesperson for short attention spans? Absolutely not.

College professors – and admissions staff, for that matter – need to engage with students through conduits that facilitate natural discussion and simplicity in the learning process. Tweets directed at students and prospects should be relevant, persistent and engaging in order to maintain involvement and grasp said attention spans.

If you’re not using Twitter, you should be! For more information on tasteful Tweeting, check out The Whelan Group’s article on “Twetiquette”.