From virtual tours to delayed admission: how coronavirus impacts students

Princeton, NJ – March survey results by Thinking Cap Agency, a media partner for university enrollment marketing and Refuel’s sister agency, show that coronavirus impacts students and their attitudes on what schools to attend and when. This study comprised of 1,900 college students found that 52% of transfer students are likely to sign up for virtual tours instead of going in person to visit open houses on campus. These findings represent a dramatic shift to virtual information sessions, presenting a new challenge for college and university recruitment professionals. 

Timothy Gerstmyer, President of Thinking Cap Agency, believes that multiple factors are involved in these findings. “Fears of COVID-19, travel restrictions and, in some cases, even shelter-in-place orders are substantially altering the higher education enrollment landscape,” says Gerstmyer. 

Age plays a factor in the recruitment decision process. Thirty-nine percent of students 18-24 years old indicate that they are “likely to take virtual tours” instead of attending an in-person open house on campus. How exactly coronavirus impacts students seemed to amplify with student age. Three out of five adult learners (post-graduate continuing education) are opting for a virtual tour. 

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coronavirus impacts students

This study also discovered that coronavirus impacts students enrollement in school at all. Almost half (46%) of undergrads are considering “taking some time off from school for a year or so”, given the outbreak of coronavirus. 

Gerstmyer says, “The reality is that life will go on after COVID-19. But when we look back at its impact on higher education, we’re going to see. This was the genesis of a major shift in not only how they recruit students, but with higher emphasis in overall online learning.”  

Numerous colleges are moving very quickly to make an impact with prospects. Short-form storytelling is particularly successful, since screen time is rising rapidly as a result of school closings and social distancing. Coronavirus impacts students and colleges alike, but there are strategies to work with. Thinking Cap’s U-Social™ program is especially well-suited to this targeted bite-sized virtual presentation. 

Contact us for more information on this study, or to find out how Thinking Cap Agency can assist your enrollment marketing team navigate an unprecedented student climate.

About Thinking Cap Agency 

Thinking Cap (TCA) is a collaborative media + content marketing agency that partners with colleges and universities across the U.S. for specialized enrollment marketing. We are a sister company of Refuel Agency, and majority owned by Prospect Capital (NASDAQ: PSEC). Leveraging over 30 years’ experience, we achieving positive results for individual university programs and initiatives. 

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Timothy Gerstmyer

Tim has a 20 year track record of conceiving and implementing innovative digital and multi-platform strategies. At Refuel Agency, he is responsible for developing digital solutions that dynamically and effectively target audiences and achieve substantial ROI for our clients. Tim is a dedicated father of three, loves the Jersey shore and donates the remainder of his spare time volunteering in support of the Schrader Autism Foundation as their Digital Marketing Advisor.