Posted: September 18, 2013
At VisionPoint Marketing, we believe the best way to understand people is to listen. We’re so committed to this idea that we wrote it into our company values: Knowledge is both given AND received.
Back in April, we attended the NAGAP annual conference in Orlando. While on the ground, we interviewed several of our higher education colleagues about marketing challenges and trends in their respective markets. In the spirit of shared learning, we compiled these interviews into a short video series and posted it on our website for everyone to see.
In summary, here are 5 themes we heard:
1. The economy is a challenge
There’s an overarching concern for the state of the economy and how its lack of stability impacts graduate degree enrollment. Prospective students are financially savvy; more than ever, they’re seriously considering the economic value of obtaining a graduate degree. While some may argue that a shaky economy is a good thing for graduate enrollment (by encouraging students to further their education in search of jobs) not all graduate degrees lead directly to higher salaries...and for some, the financial impact is somewhat tenuous.
2. People like NAGAP
When asked if people had previously attended a NAGAP conference, most said yes. When we asked what brought them back, we heard praise for the professional development and the opportunities to share experiences with peers from across the country. Kudos to NAGAP for continuously creating an environment of openness and empathy.
3. Quality over quantity
Graduate admissions programs are striving to build applicant pools that aren’t just full of eager students, but are full of ‘right-fit’ students. Since most schools strive to create graduate programs of real consequence, they need students who can actually bring something to the table. Getting programs to buy into this concept can be difficult - especially when budgets are tight and every student impacts the bottom line.
4. Personal touch is still valuable
While many graduate programs have embraced online media such as social media, web and online advertising, there’s still significant value in personal connections. However, finding the right venues for making these intimate connections remains a challenge.
5. Everyone is facing the same (or similar) struggles
Given the competitive nature of graduate admissions, many programs find themselves facing the same challenges. We spoke to several attendees who feel their struggles take the backseat to those of their respective undergraduate programs. However, there’s something about having an entire national association behind you (and sharing in the same struggles) that’s validating. NAGAP provides a very unique opportunity to share struggles and collaboratively find ways to conquer them.
Don’t miss the 2014 NAGAP Conference
Clearly, this is just a snapshot of some of the incredibly compelling topics discussed at NAGAP this year. Mark your calendars for the NAGAP 2014 Conference in sunny San Diego April 30 - May 4th.