What can Indian Universities learn from Foreign Universities?



The era of College Admission Marketing through posters, brochures and side banners website advertising is off the shelves. Technology has delved deep in every sphere and the education sector has been no exception to it. Understanding how technology has changed the business of education makes an interesting study. Technology, Marketing and Education are the topics we are going to talk about in this article and how combining these three is going to be beneficial to institutes, students and the welfare of the society as well.

For most Colleges in India, current Admission Marketing is still done in an old fashioned way centered on providing the least amount of information required to generate initial interest and entice the student to fill out an online lead form.  It is institution centered, and there is no value delivered to the prospective student.  They receive nothing from this equation except an endless stream of auto dialer powered phone calls and online queries. But there have always been exceptions. Coffee with SIBM by Symbiosis group, is one such initiative in which the colleges provide personalized attention to their prospective candidates to make them feel unique and understand how the college’s offerings fits their needs. There are a few handful of institutes like SIBM but except these, Indian institutes are lagging behind foreign universities when it comes to implementing innovative marketing strategies for attracting the target audience or marketing their college’s USP efficiently.

For decades, Foreign Universities have worked hard to make college admissions process an art. From efficient marketing packages to a perfect campus visit, there are seemingly endless ways to allure new students to enroll. These days, the admission staff has a technologically advanced armour social media besides the old-fashioned ingenuity strategies. We have shared ideas and examples through which universities and colleges can revolutionize their marketing and admission processes. One of them are the interactive video game tours; At DePauw University, students can take a tour of the campus through an interactive video game. The University of Pittsburgh is offering a special programme for students with Autism and Asperger’s, so it will become home for such students. Fee waiver is a reality at the University of New Haven’s Business School; they offer free tuition to students with the next great entrepreneurial idea. iPads are also available as prizes, along with gift cards to bookstores. To build credibility among prospective students, MIT features 10 student blogs on its site. In today’s society of instant gratification , students want their degrees as soon as possible. Therefore, many of the colleges come with the provision of longer classes and shorter terms.

Foreign universities are making tremendous efforts to attract international students, but mind you, scholarships are not their only tool. During recruitment season, Amherst flies almost 200 potential students from the country to participate in “diversity open houses,” and offers them two round-trip plane tickets for every year, so that they can visit their family back home. Some universities are broadening their horizons and covering social media platforms as well. Admission officers have an additional responsibility of keeping their colleges at the forefront on social media by posting reminders, news, and application deadlines on Facebook and Twitter.

Along with the innovative techniques, some of the creative advertising strategies are mentioned here.


Paul Smith’s College – At Your Service:

Paul Smith's at your service

This print spread for Paul Smith’s College in New York was a multiple award winner. Props, unrelated to education were used, they engage prospective students and encouraged their dreams some might consider unconventional ― like being a whitewater guide. The showcased soldier helps them target the highly respectable military audience without the typical “military friendly” language. Female demonstrates a belief in women to achieve their dreams. It is subtle yet effective.


Thurgood Marshall College Fund – #HCBULove


Around 20% of Afro-Americans in U.S.A. who earn undergraduate degrees, complete them at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Unfortunately, due to a combination of leadership challenges, funding issues and other struggles, HBCUs across the nation are facing a decline in enrollments. To raise awareness of their contribution to American society, unite HBCU communities, and promote benefits of the higher education from HBCU, the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) celebrates March as HBCU Awareness Month, also known as “I Love My HBCU!” Month. In 2014, TMCF stepped their campaigning a level up and asked people to share their proud moments using the hashtag #HBCULove. Followers voted for the school with the most HBCU pride, and three schools were each awarded $1500. This campaign, repeated in 2015, united HBCU communities and formed a league of advocates, supporters, students, faculty and alumni.


The University of Saskatchewan – Saskatch-er-whuh?

The University of Saskatchewan – Saskatch-er-whuh?

Many schools struggle with limited recognition, but only a few take this as an opportunity to play with. University of Saskatchewan(USask) deployed multi-channel marketing campaign that included social media, videos and print components, and called themselves “a well-kept secret” and won multiple 2015 Hermes Creative Awards for such creativity.


Personalized marketing definitely helps in creating loyalty and trust, with the aspirants. Furthermore, this also gives students a sense of identity, that they are no longer a part of masses and instead become an individual with unique aspirants and preferences. It aims at making the the first contact with the prospective student, a life changing and transformative experience.


Keeping aside the innovative ideas, Indian colleges also lack the digital tools to appeal to their most desirable students. Admito, one such platform is building innovative tools for Colleges to identify and interact with the students in a meaningful way. It would help Colleges create a funnel of likely student applicants, and attract potential students while also correctly gauging their interest to attend.  


Today, aspirants are spending a major part of their day online. In the world of Internet, branding through side banner advertising would not reap desirable results. Colleges have to go little out of their comfort zone and formulate a long term strategic roadmap that seeks to set pace in marketing and build deep relationship with the aspirants. Marketing the College innovatively can help attract the right students, and obviously lead to better future of not just the institution but of the student as well.


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