This post is intended to the College Management, CEO, Vice Chancellors, Registrars, Deans and other senior members responsible for growth of their college in terms of number of admissions.
As founder of iTrack, an Industry Academia Collaborative eLearning Platform (www.itrackglobal.com), I interact with a lot of senior folks in the Academia and this post is based on the knowledge I have gained through these interactions.
The COVID pandemic has hit the colleges cashflows, income, fund planning and other related things very hard. So, many a time during my discussion people ask rather brainstorm on various strategy they are adopting to come out of this situation… earlier then expected (as I am sure that everyone will come out of this situation, but the winner will be one who comes out fastest).
So, here are few thoughts which can help the Universities/ Colleges:
- Integrated virtual learning environment – Its all about experience and the young generation know it much better than any of the earlier generation. You ask them why they like Netflix or Apple or OnePlus and the answer is User Experience. So, offer and integrated learning environment where they can do all (well, almost all) that they can do in the physical campus (for academics). Like Virtual Learning, Virtual Classes, Assessments, apply for jobs & internships and do projects and if possible Labs and Mentorship. I know what will be the reaction from most of the readers, that my college is already doing all this, but the reality is that most colleges are offering these things in pieces and in a highly un-organized way. We need to understand one thing that the student’s mind is not stable and they can’t keep their attention on one thing for long. So, if you give Zoom for virtual classes, in-house Moodle based system for assessment and some videos on Google drive, this will make keep them un-satisfied and parents will keep asking for refund or reduction in fees.
- Industry Connect for Students – As students are not coming physically to the campus, there is a huge disconnect and feeling of loneliness among students (I am sure you would have read many research and studies on depression among students during this COVID). So, if some guest lectures from Industry folks can be organized along with some fun activities, maybe panel discussion or HR conference or resources for interview planning etc. will give a sense of belonging and that college really care for them and have not just dropped them alone in this difficult time. This can help in bringing more admission as students will become your ambassadors. There is no better way to market your product (College) than through its users (Students). Now, imagine a sales force of 1000 or 2000 or more (depending on the no. of students you have) self motivated, free of cost, young, energetic people in form of your students, this can propel your College to a different league.
- Focus on Faculties – On an average every college have faculty student ration of 1:50+, so a college with approx. 2000 students have atleast 40 or more Faculty members and these all can all be your ambassadors to bring in more admissions, if they know how to market themselves. Let me compare this with Hospital, where in patients come for a particular doctor and there is a bond between patient – doctor and hospital. Can you think of bringing the same model in your college?
- Invest in On Campus Startups – this is radical thought and may sound crazy, but this is one of the best way to mitigate such risk in the future. College can setup a SPV (Special Purpose Vehicle) or an Incubation Centre (maybe a Virtual Incubation Center – which can be set up at almost no cost). College Management can bring in amazing contacts and help these startups to grow. Now, if college Management think this as a separate business and give some un-divided attention on revenue model, this can be a huge success and bring in unimaginable benefits in terms of more admissions, satisfied students and faculties and money (on exit).
- RE:IMAGINE – this is what most college/ university administrators have not done since the time they have started the Institute, this should be an annual exercise like it happens in corporate, what we did right and what we did wrong, what can be done in the next year. Let me keep this topic for some other post, as I want to dedicate a full post on this point.
I am sure College Administrators & Management may have many more ideas and thoughts which may include Distance Learning, Peer To Peer Learning, College – School Connect etc. Feel free to reach out to me to discuss any of these points, just drop me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.