Educational institutions today must adapt as our society continues to change, and if not, they will inevitably become outdated. Community colleges offer many great benefits, such as low tuition costs, better support, chances to improve college transcripts, and great professors. However, in today’s climate, community colleges must continue providing for their community. Additionally, they have to respond to developments on a national level. Below are ten trends in community college marketing strategies today.
#1 – Expanding Distance Learning
Most community colleges have already fully embraced using the Internet as a useful resource for distance learning. Instructional Technology Council (ITC), a council that provides various distance education courses to college students in North America and other parts of the world, surveyed online courses in the United States of America. The survey revealed that 94% of community college administrators mentioned that online college courses are equal to or superior to traditional methods. Why more community colleges are developing more distance education programs and courses makes sense.
Numerous community colleges offer particular courses online, and some offer full degree programs that can be completed online. Online courses make it possible for more students to enroll in college. One of the most significant benefits of online education is that it is flexible, which allows students to balance their schoolwork, job, and personal life, among others. An online degree program can allow students to work full-time and focus on their schoolwork before, after, or during their off days. Online degree programs work well for stay-at-home parents as well as retired individuals. Students who may live in remote areas usually find online programs convenient because they don’t have to relocate. In 2016, the percentage of community colleges that offered online certificate programs increased from 76 percent to 84 percent.
#2 – 360° Virtual Tours Online
More colleges, both community and four-year colleges, are starting to include 360-degree video and virtual reality tours to recruit potential students to their programs. College is learning how to utilize a virtual tour fully. Virtual tours are a great tool to use in the early stages of searching for new students or students who can not physically attend an open house. Students can use virtual tours to become more familiar with a college campus. Community colleges that use virtual tours secure a yield-rate gain of more than 25%.
#3 – Offer More Baccalaureate Degrees
It has always been more common for four-year colleges and universities to have bachelor’s degree programs. Usually, community colleges only offer just associate degree programs. However, things are starting to change today, as you can see an increase in community colleges now providing baccalaureate degree programs. Community colleges began to include baccalaureate degree programs because of teacher shortages.
More than 80 community colleges are offering 900 baccalaureate programs throughout the United States of America.
Nineteen states allowed two-year colleges to award bachelor’s degrees to potential teachers, particularly in math and science. Also, two-year colleges have created bachelor’s degree programs in subjects and areas that can’t be found in four-year institutions because of costs. More bachelor’s degrees program are found at community colleges to help make a college education accessible for more students.
#4 – Being Mobile-friendly
98% of Americans owned a mobile phone device. Most companies attract customers by having an online presence, especially on social media like Instagram. A few colleges started using Instagram to extend their reach and connect with potential students. The audience that most colleges and universities tend to target is high school students who are about to graduate and college transfer students. Along with social media, it is essential for a college’s website also to be mobile-friendly since most students are on their mobile phones. Simplicity is critical for marketing on mobile, and the design should be straightforward.
#5 – Increasing Partnership with Business
Something trendy nowadays is the partnership between community colleges and businesses. About 80% of employers require that potential hires have education or job training beyond high school. In the current job market, companies in every industry demand skillful designers, assistants, programmers, and various support. In the information technology realm mainly, they are willing to invest and hire only the best potential employees. More so, an employer may more likely be interested in an applicant who has certifications in specific skills and has mastered various skills. Employers are more interested in certificates than degrees.
The National Council for Continuing Education and Training (NCCET) often suggests that community colleges should include non-degree (non-credit) programs focusing on assessment. The main goal is whenever a potential employee has certifications in a specific area, that employer will trust that employee more because they have particular job skills. Job training is essential, and more community colleges must focus on creating high-quality credentialing programs. If not, private trade schools will step in to fill in that void. Many private trade schools are already creating credentialing programs serving individuals who want to improve their job training.
#6 – Focusing on Dual-Enrollment Students
Today, there is a trend for enrollment programs that allow high schoolers to take college-level courses while still in high school. These students are referred to as dual-enrollment students. They enrolled in beginning-level college courses where they earned college credits and simultaneously earned honors toward high school graduation.
This type of program often varies depending on the community college. More than 80% of dual enrollment students normally continue their education after graduating high school. A challenging engagement is one of the most significant advantages these students will gain. Difficult engagement encourages flexibility, promotes productivity, asks questions, and engages social gatherings, to name a few.
#7 – Welcoming Reverse Transfer Students
Traditionally, after earning a two-year degree at a community college, students normally transfer to a four-year college or university. Community colleges have reverse transfer students in which students move from a four-year college or university to a community college—more than a third of the student population transfer to another school. There are many reasons why a student would go through the reverse transfer process. Common sense is a student wasn’t successful at a university and decided to transfer to a community college to improve their GPA and then would re-enroll back at the university. Some bachelor-earned students would enroll in a community to gain or sharpen job skills.
#8 – Increasing enrollment for veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars
About a million veterans enrolled in a higher education program. Most young war veterans often have the same educational goals and aspirations as every college student. For example, almost every student wants to earn a degree or gain job training skills, whether a young war veteran or not. It has become more trendy for community colleges to make their programs more accessible to war veterans. The challenge they face is making those programs available to severely wounded veterans who are paralyzed or missing limbs. Students in these conditions will need medical attention, living assistance, and physical therapy. More community colleges are realizing they can provide educational resources and programs that can be solely designed to assist young and wounded veterans as they return to the work field.
#9 – Increased Response to Globalization
There are benefits of globalization, such as foreign direct investment (FDI), which helps increase the ultimate growth in world trade. Increasing world trade helps with technology transfers and global company growth. While government and business focus on globalization, educational institutions are doing the same, especially community colleges. Today, community colleges are preparing their students to be successful in the environmental industry. About 9% of international students are enrolled in community colleges in the US. Government policies and information technology helped expand more work opportunities in this industry beyond our national borders. The Global Corporate College (GCC), an educational consulting company, has partnerships with many community colleges and fields to help prepare students for a position in today’s global economy.
GCC’s primary goal is to develop a national and international system that provides job training programs for companies. Community colleges created courses and workshops that include top-notch training, which many businesses worldwide need. Educational institutions offer training workshops and seminars that could fit various companies. There is more than 35 community college that is currently partnered up with GCC.
#10 – Partnerships between Community Colleges and Four-Year Institutions
The first partnership between community colleges and four-year institutions was formed in California but nowadays is common throughout the United States of America. Whenever community college partners with a four-year college or university, students often use the community college as a stepping stone before transferring. More than 30% of students change school in six years. Students usually benefit from this partnership because their college credits will most likely be transferred to a four-year institution.
Today, most community colleges continue to fulfill their and potential students’ needs. They are also focusing on meeting new demands from companies, industries, and the private sector. Community colleges aim to make their courses and programs accessible to everyone. All of the trends above explain how community colleges are paying attention to multiple student demands. Most of them consistently reach out to high school students, helping both transfer and reverse transfer students and creating programs catering to different student groups.