Marketing to Transfer Students

Marketing to Transfer Students
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The issue of transferring has been in the news recently. Originally it was NCAA sports stars increasing their transfer rate for a better opportunity. Now the focus has shifted to International students. These students need to find a way to stay in the country if their original college has 100% of its classes online. Colleges and Universities now need improve their marketing to transfer students.

In 2018, Princeton University only accepted a total of 13 transfer students. This was the first time in almost 30 years that the institution had reinstated a transfer program, or even accepted transfer students at all. This public viewed the move positively. It opened the doors to smart, talented students who might’ve first enrolled into community college due to financial constraints. It also improved the diversity on campus, making it more reflective of the broader American Public. 

This change in enrollment policy represents a trend that is growing in popularity throughout higher education institutions. Colleges are now focusing on capturing the attention of transfer students.

The Trend

Colleges have been facing enrollment issues in the past few years. The number of high school graduates is projected to decline which in turn affects enrollment numbers. A variety of factors cause the trend, including a stronger economies in the past 6 years. It pushes students to seek jobs rather than pursue college degrees.

Schools face an increased competition for international students. These students have been widely accepted as cash cows. They usually afford full tuition which helps subsidize the cost for students who can’t. But trends have shown international students choosing to go to other countries altogether, such as Canada or Australia. These schools can provide them with a similar or equal education, as well as the same college experience they seek from American institutions. The increasingly restrictive views and policies on Immigration in the United States aren’t helping either. Prospective students choose to study in countries with more inclusive immigration policies.

With a smaller pool of possible applicants, colleges must focus on transfer students to fill out their enrollment spots. 

The Pandemic Threat

This year’s Covid-19 pandemic shook up the entire world. In regard to higher education, students who once planned to attend their dream school, have had to reconsider their plans. Many students have had to reevaluate their financials after their parents lost their jobs or had hours temporarily cut due to Covid-19. This means they have opted to go to state colleges or schools closer to home since it’s cheaper. 

Students also don’t know if classes will be online or in person. With university tuition prices not lowering to reflect the difference in education quality, current and prospective students now consider attending community colleges to gain credit while they wait for things to normalize. 

It is likely that colleges who have a dual enrollment program, such as the University of Oregon. They allow students to take classes at the nearby community colleges will have more success in these times. Students are allowed to take a certain number of credits at the nearby community colleges at lower rates, and to seamlessly transfer them to their curriculums at the University of Oregon. 

Not all schools offer programs like the University of Oregon. For colleges to be successful at retaining as many students as possible, and to attract more transfer students, they need to fix their transfer credit system. As many as four in ten transfer students do not receive transfer credits at all, with many of those credits not being accepted which puts them into deeper debt. 

Colleges are relying more than ever on transfer students to maintain their numbers and prestige, and it only makes sense for colleges to do right by their students. With transfer students in demand, we should see more accommodating and competitive programs for transferring, which would greatly help students struggling through these times.  Universities need to step up their efforts in marketing to transfer students.


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