“This university feels right for me!”: Leveraging your IR to transform prospects into new students

Over the next two months, admissions and enrollment offices will be eagerly — and fearfully — waiting for student acceptances to come in. With on-campus prospective student events a thing of last year, your admissions staff may be looking for additional ways to attract this coming year’s freshman class to your school. Your Digital Commons repository can help those acceptances become a flow rather than a trickle in just 3 steps.

  1. Highlight the institution’s culture: Dress up your IR’s home page with a scrolling montage of images that best reflect your institution: buildings inside and out (especially the library!), campus grounds, homecoming photographs, mascots, important guest lecturers and commencement speakers, student scholarship events — think broadly. Any images that, when shown together, can give a sense of what life is like at your institution will reflect well on not just your college or university, but on your repository, too. Examples to view:

Digital Commons @ Macalester College

Online Research Commons @ ATU (Arkansas Tech University)

Digital Commons @ Humboldt State University

  1. Focus on the student academic experience: Create a collection that shows the depth and breadth of the academic experience your university has to offer a prospective student. Show off capstone projects, honors theses, student-led publications, student dance recitals or music performances. Parents play an important role in influencing the decision, so show them that engaging their would-be student and supporting their educational successes are your institution’s top priorities. Examples include:

Student Works Collections on Digital Commons @ USU (Utah State University)

Student Life & Culture Collections on Digital Commons @ IWU (Illinois Wesleyan University)

HCNSO Student Work Collections on NSUWorks (Nova Southeastern University)

  1. Engage your Admissions and Marketing teams: Work with colleagues in these offices to curate IR content that would help them in their recruitment efforts. Offer to embed virtual campus tour videos as part of the collection (we can help!). Their reward will be a student-focused collection that they’ve had a hand in creating and that can be shared in any outbound communication they’re sending to prospects. Enlist Marketing’s support in scheduling a series of social posts using the IR’s images and collection link via the university’s social channels. Anything you can do to aid these departments in turning prospects into acceptances will be of benefit to everyone at your institution.

See how the Augustana Digital Commons team at Augustana University in Rock Island, Illinois embedded a video of students talking about their publications on the IR (image from the carousel shown above)

What about attracting graduate students, too, you ask? You could take much of the same approach by collaborating with your Graduate school or program colleagues. Two collections that combine both undergraduate and graduate students’ work worth viewing are:

Iowa State University Digital Repository’s Capstones, Theses and Dissertations

Digital WPI at Worcester Polytechnic Institute’s Student Projects and Research

Do you have other ideas to share with the Digital Commons Community to support attracting student acceptances? Please post your ideas on Twitter and be sure to include our handle, @bepress_DC, so we can share it forward. And, as always, your dedicated Consulting Services representative is available to guide you through creating and adding a new collection or embedding enticing campus images and videos on your IR’s home page. Feel free to reach out to them via email or write to us at dc-support@bepress.com. If you came across this blog and think that Digital Commons might be a solution for your institution please contact us here.