It’s no secret that college enrollment numbers have been steadily declining for nearly the past decade. Colleges across the nation have been reevaluating their enrollment recruitment strategies to mitigate their declining enrollment numbers. 

It's not an easy feat and we understand you all have busy lives (...tackling this recruitment nightmare), so if you do only have five minutes spare, here are the main points you must take away today to start addressing this slump: 

  • It’s the twenty-first century, and the online world is the place to be. If you’re not utilizing CRM automation and offering online curriculums, you’re in for a rough ride. 

  • If Netflix can personalize their suggestions and Spotify can predict your playlist mood, it’s about time you start thinking about how you can adopt a model other than the one-education-fits-all.

  • Partnership and close collaboration with businesses to ensure students are rightfully skilled and ready for employment upon graduation, is essential.

As 2019 marks the eighth consecutive year of enrollment numbers declining, institutions across the nation are struggling to battle this epidemic, especially smaller colleges. The recent closure of Green Mountain College in Vermont is a great example of why colleges must act quick. Not to mention, the number of recent grads that find themselves unemployed is staggering, and with a decline in the number of 19-year-olds, among other reasons, enrollment is down by more than 2.9 million since the last peak in the fall of 2011. So, what can we do?

Technology and the disruption of place

As we witness the emergence of high-quality, low-cost ways of learning online, institutions must not ignore the power of integrating technology in the admissions process. For example, marketing and CRM systems (ideally something specialist for the HE sector like Akero) can save a massive amount of time—improving your productivity and efficiency. Save more time and follow-up with personalized messages to all your leads by integrating innovative technologies into your admissions process.

And don’t stop personalization there. As we move into a new decade, we are seeing more and more personalized service. Whether it’s the self-checkout machines at McDonald’s and Nordstrom, or curated playlists made “just for you” on Spotify, personalization is the new automation. And that rings true for education too. Research shows that a decentralized approach to learning results in higher student engagement and academic success than when taught in a more generic approach. So if you’re institution is looking for a way to stay in the game, tailor curriculums and classes to the individual are the way to go. Netflix has paved the way, universities it’s your turn now.

Need more inspiration? Check out our top tips for staying cool during the summer melt here.

Students are underemployed

The number of recent grads that find themselves unemployed or underemployed is staggering. Recent studies have found that the unemployment rate for recent graduates actually rose in the second quarter of 2019, and for the first time ever recent college graduates are more likely to be unemployed, than the base U.S. population. So it’s unsurprising that many of your prospective students may consider opting out of college for a better career path. Colleges and nearby employers should work closely to provide students more opportunities to gain the work-relevant skills that they want and society needs them to have. In other words, tackle this anxiety of unemployment head-on, and work with your students and society to ensure they’re ready for graduation and the working world beyond. 


The enrollment slump is real, and experts are predicting it’s not going away anytime soon. But don’t let that prevent you from developing new, creative ideas to capture your prospective students—pivot out of your old ways and embrace technological innovation. 

If you’re worried about your enrollment rate and want to find out how to keep your prospective students engaged with and committed to your institution, get in touch.

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Article by

Kevin Hsu Author Image

Kevin Hsu

Marketing Executive