The belief that beautiful campus attracts students does not hold true anymore
Educational institutes till recently used to be defined by their amazing architecture and glamourous campuses. In the last two decades from the dreaming red-brick universities built mostly by the British architects, to the concrete campuses, many architectural marvels sprouted everywhere. This rush to build infrastructure has put a growing strain on the university or the college’s finances. Universities receive twice the money per student than they did two decades ago. But increased spending only on infrastructure, both in capital and operational expenses is racking up their debt. The belief that beautiful campus attracts students does not hold true anymore.
UGC has been upholding outcome as the decisive factor when it comes to granting recognition and support. It has laid down a new set of norms in this direction. It aims to get more people into higher education and at the same time pushing colleges and universities to pay more attention to teaching. Each institution’s future depends on securing enough students. Universities and colleges are aware that they need to compete with a host of rivals to fill their seat and apart from geography what they offer in terms of the outcome will be the key decisive factor to win this race for enrolment.
As higher education institutions look forward to yet another academic session, they can adopt various strategies, well in advance, to improve their student enrolments and shore up their revenues. Some of the areas that they can adopt are providing ROI on the student’s investment – Education that leads to a clear purpose and tangible outputs gain reputation easily and quickly.
A degree at the end of the three year’s bachelors’ course no more satisfies a student. Many a time students are yearning for a gainful experience and degree. Focusing on employability provides the right recipe and signaling value for HEIs to attract and retain high quality students.
Smoothen the admission process – Making the admission process cumbersome and lengthy makes it annoying for the students. Approaching it in a practical way is a nice thing to do; universities can add comfort by allowing online methods, quick processing and single layered step. Over layering the admission process automatically discourages students from joining the institute.
Start Early – As the saying, ‘early bird gets the morning worm’ even higher education institutes must plan their marketing campaigns well in advance so as to get the maximum advantage. They should have a clear understanding about their strengths as well as weakness and take efforts in propagating their success stories in the most effective manner. It’s more important than ever before for colleges and universities to communicate their value proposition in clear words and well in advance.
Move beyond being transactional- Be it the admission stage or during the course it is imperative for the university or the college to create a cohesive environment. For instance, admission processes are often long, challenging and stressful process. Appoint a counselor to help students navigate this process. Survival stories, time management tips, practical strategies, inspiring examples, insightful anecdotes and words of encouragement are the extra arsenal which counselors often employ to firefight the slow burn-out among students. Having experienced and enough number of counsellors in place can help universities and colleges to better their enrolments.
Adopt technology- Technology is a great aid that can streamline the processes, identify the gaps and plug the same. Hence, it’s imperative for higher education institutes to invest in technology. Further, adoption of technology can help institutions to analyse their data from both a high level and a granular level and tackle inefficiencies. It can help in devising strategies that will help the college or university to stay competitive.HEIs cannot look to government to come to the rescue for long.
Kavita Rooj, VP, Schoolguru Eduserve