An increasing number of institutions are taking advantage of mobile technology to help recruit, engage and enroll prospective and admitted students. Mobile apps are being used for self-guided campus tours, open houses, recruitment events, college nights and more, providing a highly effective way for admissions and enrollment departments to meet the needs of these students.
In this web seminar, presenters outlined strategies for using mobile apps in admissions. The Visit Program marketing specialist at Colorado State University discussed how the institution implemented mobile technology beginning in 2015, and has continued to track success and make improvements every semester, creating a mobile platform that caters to the needs of CSU’s prospective and admitted students.
Visit Program Marketing Specialist
Colorado State University
Content & Community
Matt Oney: What can you tell our audience about the structure of your visit programs?
Will Reutemann: We host roughly 18 to 20 visits per day, geared toward our special populations: prospective freshman, transfer students and admitted students. In addition to those visit days, we also host twice-a-day information sessions and tours like the majority of college campuses out there. We have the ability to accommodate up to about 100 guests during those times. For our admitted students, we focus on three main visit days, which are large-scale visit programs held in the spring semester. We supplement those with about 20 admitted student tours throughout that spring semester.
Matt Oney: Before you had any sort of mobile or technological solution, what were the challenges you were facing?
Will Reutemann: One of our challenges was how to differentiate our admitted student programs from the other programs that we offer and from what other schools are doing. We wanted to provide our admitted students the opportunity to attend a conference-style event as a way to personalize their day so they could come onto campus and connect with the resources, departments and individuals they wanted to connect with. It was difficult to do that when it came to printing agendas. What was the best way to allow the students to have a seamless event? We were looking at different solutions to try to make that work and an employee proposed the idea of getting Guidebook onto campus and using it as a way to facilitate that personalization that we know students are looking for.
The biggest takeaway was this: Because we noticed students are making a large-scale investment, when they come onto campus they want it to be about them. So we wanted to give them the power to control their visit, to put it in their hands. What we were trying to solve was how to provide a road map to give folks the power to make their own day, so they could go about connecting with the individuals they needed to connect to. It was about empowering guests to make their own visit, and we needed a tool to do that.
Matt Oney: That is something we see a lot. The power of giving the ability to the students to create their own schedule and things like that from the second they arrive on campus makes a night or day difference. Why did mobile end up being the solution you chose?
Will Reutemann: We’re a big campus, but we hear all the time from our current students that it feels small because of the different connections they can make when they’re here. That’s invaluable for a student. This tool allowed our prospective students, guests and visitors the opportunity to make those connections.
Matt Oney: What did Choose CSU mean for the team? What was the overarching goal?
Will Reutemann: The catalyst for our entire mobile initiative was that we knew we couldn’t produce this event without this tool. We knew it would be too big of a bear to print a 10-page agenda and things like that. We explored some different tech opportunities and did some demos with some other companies, but we were always focused on what it would be like for the user and whether it was easy for us on the back end to implement. The two big questions we kept asking ourselves were, “Can this technology be utilized by our guests pretty seamlessly?” and “Is it going to take up too much time on our end?” When we looked at some other companies and services, it just made sense to use Guidebook as the tool to facilitate this dream vision that we had.
Matt Oney: I talk to a lot of our customers about how they stumbled upon Guidebook, and the No. 1 thing that I hear is from the building perspective, it’s extremely easy. We opted for a drag-and-drop platform. You just put your content in and your app basically builds itself. It’s extremely simple. But what is even more important is that when thinking about the students, the app is extremely intuitive. User experience comes first when we’re thinking about how to design the Guidebook app. Today’s students are extremely receptive to mobile. Twenty percent are using mobile only, which is absolutely incredible. Seventy percent are on mobile and desktops. And internet usage on mobile devices is very rapidly exceeding that on desktops.
What plans do you have to expand your use of Guidebook?
Will Reutemann: Last year we expanded our general visit guide to some of our smaller programs, and we added things like the campus map, tips and tricks for your visit, and what to do in and around town. Outside of our office, our orientation office used Guidebook for the first time this past summer for their orientation session. We want to see if there is room to collaborate there, because we know for the user it makes no sense to download a different app for different visits. So we’re exploring those options to collaborate and come together.
To watch this web seminar in its entirety, visit www.universitybusiness.com/ws111617