The world of education has never been bigger, but it also has never been more under threat. There is a massive shift towards seeing further education in a negative light, and not because students don’t want to learn or don’t think there’s any value in it. Rather, it’s the cost-benefit. Many universities cost a staggering amount to attend, and with so many professionals today having a university education, the value of having a degree in the workplace is just shrinking.
The subjects at most risk are those in the arts and humanities. Those in STEM are still essential, but universities with a strong arts focus face an uncertain future. The good news is that young people want to go to university, which means higher institutions just need to shift their approach in terms of course content, and how they draw in potential students.
The Importance of Shifting The Curriculum
The biggest complaint amongst students today is that their degree did nothing for their career. It did not teach them what they needed to know. It did not give them a leg up or open doors. The reason being is the sheer volume of graduates out there today.
To address these concerns, universities need to offer two focuses. The traditional focus would appeal to those who want to go into research or academia, and a career focus. In this new focus, degrees need to add in career skills building, organize more job and internship and mentorship opportunities, talks, and opportunities for students to develop career skills they can use directly in their chosen industry.
Introducing Your Smaller University to Students
With a more career-focused curriculum, you have a real shot at drawing in new students. Don’t assume that they will immediately get the message, or why your university or college is worthwhile. That’s why it’s important to collaborate with the right marketing agency. This agency should have many years of experience and know the ins and outs of marketing to recruit students. In terms of where you recruit, the answer is everywhere. Job fairs, direct at schools, and, most of all, online.
Offer Bridges into Education
Give potential students more ways to learn in a way that suits them. Offer the public the chance to take a course without going for the full degree. Offer specific workshops and programs to get people to try out new skills or learn something new.
Open up talks to the public. You want more people to sign up, give them more chances to try out your university before they commit, and give working professionals ample opportunity to further their education with you.
Will all of these new students be enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program? No. This is how the world is shifting, where instead of just one degree to serve you throughout your professional life, your commitment to further education will define you.
Offer those bridges into further education, and market them. Change the focus depending on the age of the person as well. For teens, make the focus about trying out different courses or skills, or even offering a foundation degree they can customize. For working adults, make the offerings career or hobby-specific so they go to you for further training and education.