The day-to-day growing use of technology has forced the universities to change their traditional ways of teaching and learning, observes Rohit Prasad, Co-founder and Director, SRV Media Easebuzz.
The world has been witnessing a digital revolution since the middle of the last century. We are now standing on the edge of the Fourth Industrial Revolution that will further alter the way we live and work. According to the World Economic Forum, this industrial revolution will blur the lines between the physical, digital, and biological sphere. Sure enough, dramatic changes have been taking place all around us and the education industry is no stranger to this.
It wasn’t long ago when students had to rely on traditional communication such as television ads, newspapers, pamphlets, etc to gain important information about universities and colleges. However, as the world is moving towards digitisation, so is higher education. Nowadays, students have access to all the data about a university online. Students have access to information regarding the programs, fees, hostel, placements, alumni rating, infrastructure, and all other important details they need to compare various universities and colleges when choosing the best one for them.
Furthermore, newer forms of online education are creating a tough competition for traditional universities. There are various online platforms that provide a valid certificate from well-known universities. This ensures that students can gain new knowledge and certifications without having to leave their jobs. Considering how the costs of traditional universities are constantly rising, students find online courses to be more cost-effective and flexible.
Therefore, more traditional universities and colleges have started investing in digital activities. Today, everything from registering and paying for entrance test, applications, and admissions has moved to the digital platform.
These digital changes have also permeated into how colleges communicate with potential students. A few years ago colleges also had to depend on traditional communication to reach potential students. Today, thanks to digitization, colleges can now reach their audience with a comparatively lower budget. Let’s take a look at how digitization is changing the admission process of universities and colleges.
32% of students follow universities and colleges on social media platforms before they make a decision, according to a study. Students also directly communicate with alumni and current students via Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and other social platforms to discern if a particular university is a good match for them.
Considering how students turn to social media at every step of the admission process, universities are also using social media platforms to communicate with students at these steps up until their graduation. This communication can be in the form of online ads, organic posts, informative posts, etc.
Since most people turn to Google, Yahoo or Bing to look for information about various programs, it’s important that students can find a university on these search engines.
Students look for information about things they are interested in and usually only visit those websites or blogs that show up on the first page of a search engine. For instance, if a student is looking for “best b-schools in India”, he/she will only open those links that the search engine provides on the first page.
Therefore, showing up on the first of a search engine is extremely important if a university wants to attract its audience to them. To ensure that a university is visible to its potential students another digital strategy that is utilized is Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
Good SEO ranking ensures that a university shows up higher on a search engines page which can be the deciding factor between gaining or losing a potential student. There are various digital marketing experts at SRV Media that can help colleges improve their SEO rankings.
Along with a good social media presence and SEO ranking, it’s important that a university’s website is also up to the mark. A university’s website is one of the first places that students visit during their research. Therefore, having a quality website is a must. There are various factors that together, make a great website such as how user-friendly it is, its layout, how responsive it is, and if it offers relevant information. The website reflects the image of the university, therefore, it’s important that the website is modern. An outdated website will lead people to believe that the university is also outdated. This is an image any university must avoid at all costs, especially in today’s competitive market.
Furthermore, a modern and well-designed website lets universities track a visitor’s on-site activity so that they can send emails and mobile messages with relevant and personalized information depending on what stage of the marketing funnel a particular lead is in. For instance, if a student has filled the registration form but hasn’t made the payment, universities can send personalized messages to them encouraging them to pay for a course they are interested in. This kind of structured and pointed communication is only possible if a university has decided to incorporate technological and digital advancements in their admission process.
The other important thing to consider is creating a responsive website. A responsive website is one that responds to the particular device a person is using to browse through the website. For instance, a website looks different on a desktop, tablet, and mobile. Having a responsive website is extremely important if a university wants to gain higher rankings by Google. All these factors together create a good website and help education institutions to increase the number of enrollments.
These days, online payments have become the norm. Online payments are convenient, safe, and easy. Therefore, a lot of educational institutes are also offering online payment options to its students. Colleges partner with trusted payment gateway agencies to ensure that all payments are secure and easy to make without any technological complexities.
The recent initiative of discouraging cash payments by the Government of India is also another reason why universities and colleges are partnering with payment gateways like Eazebuzz. Such a partnership ensures that colleges don’t have to waste their time with unnecessary paperwork that is a huge part of the college admission process.
All in all, the digital revolution that is seeping into the admission cycle of universities and colleges is changing the way a university gains enrollments. With the help of the right digital strategies, a university or college can attract the right audience at the right time.