It’s harder than ever for colleges to fill their incoming classes, but somethat challenge with creativity. In this monthly column, called The Pipeline, we’ll spotlight innovative tactics colleges use to cut through the noise and reach prospective .
As the pandemic worsened this past, local restrictions on in-person gatherings put Kent State University in a bind. Like colleges nationwide, it wouldn’t be able to hold admissions events the way it usually did, with packs of students and families gathering indoors for presentations and traversing the campus on tours.
That worried, who relied on those visits to lock in prospective students, said Vince Slomsky, Kent State’s strategic communications director for enrollment management.
It needed an alternative. And Slomsky had an idea.
, he had seen some of his favorite artists, like the country star Jordan Davis, pull off concerts in drive-in theaters, where they’d perform to car-bound crowds.
Why couldn’t the university shift its admissions soirees to such a venue? Chomsky put in a fewto explain his “off-the-wall” idea. The theater operators were confused at first, but we’re up for it. Now, it was a matter of whether the students would turn out.
To catch their eye, Kent State created a website, called KSU2U, which its admissions officials plugged, including on social media.
Each event followed a similar format: Students and their families would arrive around dusk, pulling their vehicles into thea film. As the music played across the lot, university representatives greeted attendees, filled with branded goodies like beanies and mittens.
Attendees would remain in their cars while Kent State officials floated around the lots to answer their questions, calling over admissions and. Minding , school representatives wore face masks and stayed at a socially distanced range.
When darkness fell, university staff would project an hour-long admissions video on the silver screen that they traditionally showed during campus visits. It covered frequently asked questions like the number ofsharing why they selected Kent State.
Attention then, where current Kent State students would use the streaming service on the popular photo-sharing platform to address student and family questions and talk about their experiences. Prospective students would tune in from their smartphones in the car.