Connecting with Millennials During College Recruitment

June 7, 2017 Rachel Peden

College recruitment continues to change rapidly because this age group’s habits, attitudes, and available resources are constantly evolving.

Not long ago, parents, counselors, brochures, and campus visits were the primary ways to generate interest with high school juniors and seniors. Applications were printed and mailed. But today’s students have much more at their fingertips, with smartphones, social networks, and robust school websites demanding their attention. Coupled with increased competition
during recruitment cycles, new methods are needed to tell and support the university story and build relationships with prospective students.

These dynamics have also created an opportunity to effectively differentiate colleges using a secret weapon: entertainment media content.

Entertainment media—music, video, messaging, and more—pairs the most consumed content types by students entering college with the ability to deepen the emotions associated with each school, giving campuses a way to better differentiate and engage on an emotional level.

The Students of Today are Digital

The best access points throughout the recruitment funnel are those that schools don’t even need to provide: digital devices. Digital devices put the power of discovery and interaction in the hands of students, giving them the ability to learn and emotionally engage whenever they’re ready.

However, this fact presents a challenge for schools. Since more information is able to be discovered before a student visits a counselor, sees a brochure, or visits a campus, schools must create and sustain compelling digital experiences for prospective students to explore in order to set themselves apart.


Consumers vs. Students

Engaging prospective students is just like engaging consumers. Both groups want information delivered on their terms. In both cases, the information being delivered is becoming more digital. And just as brands are defined by the experiences they craft, the same can be said for schools.

Each scenario involves highly emotional decision-making. Consumers want products that will not only satisfy their needs but also make them feel good about the purchase. Students seek schools that provide the education they seek along with the social and extracurricular activities that will help them feel fulfilled. They want school that “feels right”.

Where Entertainment Media Rises Above

So if ties to alma maters are driven by emotion that starts during recruitment, how can a university better deliver a unique experience to prospective students? Entertainment media content can be used to effectively communicate the who, what, and why a student should attend a school throughout the recruitment funnel. A content strategy that includes entertainment media will enrich engagement streams and allow for tailored experiences for specific segments and recruitment challenges.

How Entertainment Media Content Can Enhance the University Experience

  • Being able to create emotional connections during top-of-funnel phases with themed playlists.
  • Adding excitement and deeper engagement to campus visits, open houses, and weekend visits through music events and storytelling videos.
  • Increasing web/app metrics for page views, downloads, and time on site/engaged time.
  • Recurring, low-maintenance content streams for social networks.
  • Enabling location-based programs on campus that serve content based on proximity.
  • Getting students involved in content curation and increased sharing.
  • Providing immersive game-day experiences for athletics.
  • Improving alumni/donor engagement and fundraising.

About PlayNetwork

PlayNetwork is the leading global provider of music and entertainment media experiences for brands worldwide. We partner with over 400 brands spanning 110,000 customer locations in more than 110 countries, our work reaching 100 million people every day. To learn more about PlayNetwork, visit

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