The Role of Technology in Higher Education Recruitment


The competition for students in higher education is fierce. Traditional student enrollment has declined, and there has been an increase in online education, adult learners seeking to complete a degree, transfers between institutions, and international enrollments. Priorities have also changed. Although the vast majority of students believe a college education is critical, return on investment is being more closely scrutinized. While in the past students may have focused on an institution’s reputation and prestige, today they are looking more closely at tuition costs and student loan burdens.

As higher education recruitment has become more competitive, the cost of recruitment has increased. According to the State of College Admission report from the National Association for College Admission Counseling, average recruitment costs are as follows:

  • $384 for an applicant
  • $654 for an admitted student
  • $2,231 for an enrolled student

Higher education institutions have been forced to rethink recruitment strategies in order to attract the best students while keeping a lid on these costs. Campus visits and open houses are still very effective, but traditional advertising and college fairs have limited impact. To recruit the top candidates and meet enrollment goals, schools need to engage today’s tech-savvy students on a more personal level across a variety of touch points, particularly via mobile and social media. In fact, nearly all U.S. universities are now active on social media, and most high school students are using social media to research prospective colleges.

The growing complexity of recruitment has led many higher education institutions to turn to specialized recruitment software to better plan, manage and measure the success of their strategies. While there are a number of tools on the market, each with different capabilities and functionality, many operate like a customer relationship management (CRM) system and deliver similar benefits.

On a high level, recruitment software can help institutions manage and track interactions with prospective students and parents across all channels of communication, including phone, email, traditional mail, text, instant message, social media and the school’s website. This data is then analyzed throughout the admissions process to develop personalized outreach programs, adapt strategies as needed, and build stronger relationships.

From an operational standpoint, recruitment software streamlines processes to maximize efficiency and meet institutional goals. Manual administrative tasks are replaced by automated workflows to improve speed and accuracy and allow admissions personnel to spend more time engaging students and parents.

Schools can enter admission eligibility requirements and automatically rank prospective students so recruitment efforts can be focused on qualified candidates, both in the U.S and internationally. The collection, tracking and management of applications and test results can be automated to accelerate the review and processing of these materials and inform admissions decisions. Regular reports can also be used to assess the performance of recruitment personnel and track their progress.

Of course, recruitment software is only as good as the quality of the data entered into it. Axiom solutions can be integrated with your student information system, collect data from a variety of sources, simplify data entry, and ensure that data is accurate, complete and current. Contact us to schedule a demo and see how Axiom can help optimize your recruitment strategy.