College Media Planning and School Re-Opening Plans

College Media Plans

Most Universities Will Have Students On Campus, Especially Outside of California

Almost all US universities have now announced how they plan to offer classes this fall. Despite national media headlines focused on the decisions of the California State University system, Harvard University, and others to only offer online classes, the data tells a different story. College Re-Opening plans have shown more students returning to campus. Across the US, just 11% of colleges have announced online-only classes, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education, whereas 84% of schools have announced intentions to offer in-person or a hybrid offering of in-person and online courses.

A deeper dive into the numbers reveals that most online-only schools are based in California. Overall, 63% of California schools have opted for online-only courses. But throughout the rest of the country, only 6% of schools have decided on online-only classes. In addition, of the 50 states and Washington DC, almost half (24 of 51) do not have a single college that has gone online-only.

The table below shows the number of online-only schools by state.

College Re-Opening Plan

Key Takeaways for College Marketers:

Campus media will be effective on the vast majority of campuses this fall, but it will not be the same as past years.

Our team is advising clients to look at each campus’ opening plans and adapt their media accordingly. We can help with this analysis. In terms of media timing, we are recommending campus-based campaigns wrap up by Thanksgiving. Many schools are not inviting students back between Thanksgiving and Winter Break.

Out-of-home displays, student influencers and brand ambassadors, online media, email, college newspapers can all be effective. Recommendations will depend on the campus.

Digital strategies reach students on campus or at home. Out-of-home displays will reach students on campus. College newspaper readership might increase as news coming out of the administration and campus events will be more relevant than ever. Brand ambassadors and student social media continue to be good peer-to-peer options.

Our team is ready to help you market based on the college re-opening plans. For more information, please contact your OCA representative or email us at

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