As an administrator at an Independent School, I realize that there are processes which allows us to attract new students to our campus. Over the past few evenings, I have been processing the information that I have collect during my conversations about Internet Safety that I do for all of our students, from fourth grade through twelfth grade. Here are a few informal responses that I have gotten back from our students, from 6th – 12th grades:
1. For most of them, the mobile phone is used more for sending text messages than talking
2. Most of the students (over 80%) have visited YouTube in the past month
3. 50% of our 7th Graders have a social network account (Facebook or MySpace), 75% of our 8th Graders, and the number increases when we get to the high school to the point that nearly all seniors are participating in these networks
I am not surprised by these replies, as I am the father of two girls, who are within this demographic.
So I wonder, are there new ways beyond the current processes that we currently use to create a buzz for school aimed at prospective students? Could we:
1. Create a networking messaging account on a service such as Twitter, Plurk, or the like. We could then update it with news and announcements about what is going on at North Shore, to create a desire to want to come here. Prospective students would be able to access these via their computer or via SMS (text messaging) depending on how they choose to access the information.
2. Create a YouTube channel and put short marketing videos that students may find. When they go to search North Shore, they will get content driven by us, rather than just the drivel that some of our students have created. We could create short, 2-3 minute videos which highlight various activities, homecoming, the plays, choral concerts, exciting classroom projects and present them in quick burst on a site where students are already drawn. We could engage a students to produce these videos.
3. We could use students to act as social networking/digital ambassadors, the same way that we use them as guides for prospective students shadow day, to keep in contact and follow up to ask more questions. These students would use the existing social networks to reach out to prospective students, making them want to come to such a “hip” and together school.
These are just a few of my thoughts. I am hopeful that this will spur further discussion and conversation.