• Issue #36

Let’s Just Call it Onboarding

An iceberg melts in the ocean.

The Benefits of Treating the New Student Experience as Onboarding

Summer melt. That annual reminder that Higher Ed Marketers don’t get the summer off. A crucial period of engagement that requires all hands on deck.

A time that would be less stressful for everyone if we just treated it as onboarding.

New students should start the onboarding process well before orientation, and by providing information and support early on; students will feel more prepared as they navigate this huge life change.

Because that’s what it is!

The summer before college is an anxious and stressful few months, and engaging them during this time requires empathy and compassion. But if institutions can show that they “get it,” they can foster a sense of connection and belonging waaayyyy before that first mascot-led pep rally.

What incoming students often need most is guidance with campus structures and processes. Things that will help include clear communication, intentional branding, and engaging content that addresses their questions and fears.

For all of this to work, though, cross-departmental collaboration between Admissions, Marketing, and Student Life is essential.

If they can develop a holistic approach with strong communication and creativity, they can provide a seamless onboarding experience that will make new students feel like a part of the community throughout the summer.

- Joel Goodman