Recruiting a more diverse student body is one of the more common priorities popping up on universities' strategic plans today. In the latest in a series of published reports, this month an article in The Atlantic shined a light on how high school graduate demographics are shifting from being around 70% Caucasian today to closer to 50% by 2030.
Huffington Post, Inside Higher Ed and numerous others also confirm that, while demographics are changing, universities should be very thoughtful about how they adapt to enroll a more diverse student population that reflects of our broader society.
Luckily, modern enrollment marketing is as nuanced as it is complicated. Big data allows for very creative segmentation, while the expansion of digital media enables colleges to target prospective students that were difficult to reach before.
But if you want to recruit a student body that’s more inclusive than the one you have today, think about how you want to address diversity—ethnic, racial, economic, geographic, etc.—in your messaging and on your campus.
How have you positioned diversity on your website? Are your faculty and staff diverse? What services do you have specific to those students who are the first in their families to attend college? Will minority students actually feel at home on your campus? The answers to these questions and more can shape a very powerful narrative and, more importantly, one with greater potential for success.
The goal of a more diverse and culturally rich academic environment is a noble one. Just be thoughtful and authentic when you have great stories to tell.