Congratulations! May 1 has passed. That means you have sent out acceptances and yielded your class. Well done. Months of hard work have brought you to this point — time to take a breath.
But then what? After all, the phenomenon of summer melt is real. Content holes still need to be filled. And how can we make sure we do an even better job next year? As we slide into summer, here are five action items to keep you rolling.
Have Fun, Stay Connected
Everything is a little quieter during the summer, but your communication channels still have a chance to shine. From running fun giveaways and contests to answering questions in a timely fashion, social media can remain purposeful while the sun is high in the sky. A positive interaction with your institution could mean the difference between someone showing up on move-in day or switching to another choice at the last minute.
Host fun Q&A sessions with current students via Facebook Live. Stay responsive on Twitter and in your admitted student Facebook groups in case questions arise. Mind those webform inboxes. Share some brand affinity content or promotional giveaways via Instagram and Facebook to keep students on track to show up in September.
Be ready to meaningfully engage with students who may encounter unexpected obstacles, be they financial, logistical, or otherwise, to making it to your campus come fall. Summer melt frequently impacts low-income, minority students.
Engage with International Students
All students have needs and questions, but international students even moreso. Plus, there’s the added dimension of coming to a foreign country and a campus that they may have never visited.
Keep the lines of communication open to answer questions, assuage concerns, and connect them to liaisons who can become friends in the fall.
Avoid stale content by mining your summer activity
There is tons happening on campus during the summer, so you can never truly say “there is nothing going on.” Many schools host orientation sessions throughout the summer, or they may have various bridge academic programs (for first-generation or under-resourced students) or first-year opportunities (like a wilderness or service trip) that get an early start. Schools and departments may be hosting academic conferences or forums. Your school may be holding camps geared toward the local community. And of course, fall athletics are on campus well before everyone else, putting in the work for a great season.
Also, what are your incoming students up to this summer? Can you solicit their stories? In addition, back in their hometowns, some schools — like Lehigh — have send-off events for students. These alumni-student mixers can be a great content opportunity.
Alert the Media
Your friendly communications news office is always looking for stories. Since they are typically removed from the day-to-day of student life, student stories are sometimes tricky to come by. But fortunately, you’ve spent the past few months poring through folders full of them.
If you know of any incoming movers and shakers who seem poised to hit the ground running or have compelling backgrounds, do your news office a solid and give them a heads up.
Update Your Content Strategy to Plan for the Next Cycle
No rest for the savvy admissions-minded marketer. Okay, maybe a little rest. Then it’s time to get reflective. Camp out on a picnic bench under a shady tree, grab a cold seltzer, and dive into the data.
Look back at the past season of web analytics and see what people were looking for on your website and during which times. You can then determine when their trails went cold or the content just didn’t fit the bill.
Consult staff and phone/email/text logs to see if there are any obvious website content gaps you can fill. (Don’t forget to check your incoming student communities/Facebook groups for popular thread topics.) And of course, audit, revise, and refresh! Summer is a great time for punching up your content and making sure it is accurate, on-brand, and effective.