How can a University attract the best?

Posted by Keith Jolie on Sunday, January 6, 2013 Under: Higher Education
Over the last few years I've been heavily involved in International recruitment of students to Universities and Colleges.  Many of the discussions I've had with schools has been around differentiating themselves from other institutions to attract a higher quality of student and increase enrolment.  A recent post on a linked in discussion forum (you may need to join the linkedin group for higher education management to view this post) started a discussion on the credit hour and how the concept of a credit hour may need to be assessed as a viable measurement in higher ed.  The initial question and many of the comments punctuated how insular higher education management can be. While the pace of change in this world seems to be lapping higher education management on a regular basis schools should consider that if you constantly need to think outside of the box, perhaps your box isn't big enough.
Students are all looking for something different from their education experience, but more and more students are becoming less concerned with obtaining a piece of paper and more concerned about some of the intangibles that go along with the higher education experience.
As a school seeks to market itself globally the difficult question it needs to ask is what does any university/college provide?   I think the challenge set out for them is to provide an education not a certificate, to measure the completion of degrees not hours, to measure skill and ability not time spent, to assess thought not memory.

It would seem apparent that in a world where on-line learning continues to expand at an incredible pace the traditional university needs to assess whether it is a buggy whip.  Thought leadership, assembling the brightest minds into places where they can work together and collaborate, and outstanding research facilities are all areas where a university can thrive in the coming decades - but no institution can reasonably expect to fund those activities by providing standard 2 or 4 year degree programs that become less and less relevant.
As an institution looks for ways to differentiate itself - it will need to ask itself whether it is providing some of the thought leadership, collaboration and research that will keep it relevant and then clearly communicate those benefits to its prospective students.

By Keith Jolie

In : Higher Education 

Tags: recruitment branding 
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