It has been almost a year since the coronavirus hit college campuses. The pandemic forced students out of residence halls and fostered a new online format for classes. Many colleges welcomed students back to campus this fall, some succeeding in their plans to control COVID-19 on campus. Meanwhile, some colleges were compelled to send students back home once again and revert to fully remote learning. Nonetheless, many college administrations gained clarity through these past two semesters on coronavirus precautions. They adapted to managing their students on campus and at home. With many colleges making changes this spring, as mentioned in Colleges and The COVID-19 Spring 2021 Outlook, it is important to determine what these spring changes will entail in marketing to college students. It’s time to see if there is an update to spring 2021 college status.
Quarantine and Online classes
Many universities were previously optimistic for the vaccine to be ready in time for college students this spring. Unfortunately, schools will adhere to a structure similar to their fall plans. With a majority of schools extending winter break and taking away spring break for students, it is obvious colleges want to minimize the number of students coming and going from campus. Most spring semesters will be starting off with a 2-week quarantine for all students, whether that be on campus or remotely. Classes will be fully remote for the first two weeks as well to keep students inside. From there on, many universities have expressed their desire to maintain some in-person component for classes this spring, however, an online component is very likely for a majority of classes, even on campus. Therefore, digital tactics will remain the most effective to reach students this spring.
Larger Student Populations on Campus
Last semester, many college students were chastised by campus officials for large gatherings that turned out to be COVID super-spreaders. One thing schools learned from the fall semester, is the need to minimize the opportunity for large social gatherings. Yet, many colleges are welcoming even more students back on campus this spring than they did this past fall. Colleges that are welcoming students back on campus, such as Syracuse University, have seen an increase in students wanting to come back; students who missed out on seeing their friends last semester and got tired of studying remotely at home. Even the universities that went fully remote last semester are welcoming some seniors back on campus for their last semester as students.
Many schools will be administering aggressive coronavirus testing for all students on and near campus. They believe the testing will curb the spread. However, there will still be limitations for socializing on campus in an effort to minimize those catastrophic large gatherings. Therefore, for city schools and other schools located in college towns, out-of-home advertising may still prove to be effective. Students will be granted fewer opportunities to socialize on campus, consequently forcing them to get together and hang out off-campus. They will be more likely to see an advertisement in the community surrounding colleges rather than on campus.
While there won’t be much in-person interaction on campus with schools sticking to mostly online classes, there will still be an increase in students returning to colleges this spring even with a vaccine still months away. Whether or not colleges will see success in controlling the coronavirus on and surrounding campus, we feel confident in our ability to adapt marketing techniques to still effectively reach college students. OnCampus Advertising will continue to monitor the Spring 2021 College status at universities across the country.