Alumni Engagement Strategies to Re-enrol Students Into Their Next Qualification

Claudia Reiners
July 23, 2021

Alumni Engagement Strategies to Re-enrol Students Into Their Next Qualification

4bf428ed6af9ff680b7ac8b24b046f3d?s=50&d=mm&r=g Claudia Reiners
Head of Strategy

When seeking additional student recruitment opportunities, first consider your current database. Your database should consist of students who are either completing or have completed a course – all of whom are most likely to re-engage with you for further study.

Invest in nurturing your alumni to create a reliable and rewarding pipeline of learners, eager to find out what else you can offer them.

This article provides in-depth advice to help you improve your student journey and achieve alumni success.

What is alumni success?

Each year, universities and educational institutions part ways with thousands of students. This can happen for a number of reasons. Students can sometimes drop out of a course midway through or others might be taking some time to think about what they want to study next. If a student has gained a qualification or degree to start a particular career path, then they may have started a role that doesn’t allow time for any further study.

Essentially, a university’s alumni is made up of people who have had a previous connection to that institution by taking part in a course.

Students who have had a positive and rewarding experience whilst studying are more likely to become advocates for your brand and  re-enrol in further study in the future. 

Alumni success can be achieved by creating a loyal bond with your former students. This often makes them feel that returning to your institution for further study is a natural and logical next step.

How can you achieve alumni success?

There are a number of effective strategies you can use to improve your alumni outreach and engagement.

1. Establish an alumni program

Creating specific outreach programs focused on supporting students as they leave your institution is a great alumni engagement strategy. 

This can be done in many ways, including:

  • Partnering with businesses and employers to open job opportunities for your students.
  • Establishing regular alumni events that keep former students in touch with your institution.
  • Offering exclusive course deals or perks for graduating students.

Alumni programs can help you build and nurture lifelong, loyal relationships with students. This will encourage them to re-approach your institution when they’re ready to take the next step in their education journey. 

2. Maintain consistent communication

Only distributing email marketing (or EDM) campaigns around peak enrolment seasons can make your marketing efforts feel inauthentic. 

Instead, aim to communicate with your alumni consistently throughout the year.  

When considering re-enrolling in study, students can spend six months to a year in the research phase. This is especially true for students who have entered the job market, as they tend to view further study as long-term, lower value commitments. 

For this reason, maintaining constant communication with your alumni can help them realise the potential of further study. Staying front of mind will encourage them to reach out to your institution – and not your competitors – once they’re ready to study again.

3. Map their journey during and post-study

CFOX student

A deep understanding of the student journey helps you build a solid foundation for your re-enrolment strategy. 

There are three critical elements to the student journey: lead generation, student enrolment and student retention. These elements can work cyclically and are especially useful when approaching alumni.

When marketing towards former students, you’re approaching individuals who have already demonstrated a reliable retention rate. To re-enrol these students, you’ll need to reinforce their trust in you as a high-quality education provider. You can do this by reminding them of the benefits of your courses and the valuable learning experiences you can deliver.

It’s important to also consider the typical career paths or qualification routes that students may take. This allows you to develop relevant content and resources to help them with their educational journey.

For example, if your course has both a non-accredited and accredited level, be sure to advertise the ‘next level up’ and demonstrate how you can help them specialise further.

Establish a pattern of lifelong learning with graduates by supporting them in the short term and maintaining contact throughout their careers. 

What are the benefits of alumni engagement?

Missing out on marketing opportunities with former students can be a significant misstep in the long run. There are several key reasons why this approach can be highly beneficial.

1. Improved brand reputation

The ability to advertise a high rate of returning students is a powerful marketing tool. 

A strong re-enrolment rate demonstrates that your institution can provide students with deeper levels of specialist knowledge, as well as a rewarding learning environment. 

Alumni testimonials can be a valuable outreach tactic, especially those from students who have studied two or three more courses can be incredibly effective. 

Leverage student testimonials to establish yourself as a reliable, high-quality education provider. By doing so, you:

  • Make your courses more attractive to new students
  • Increase your volume of student enquiries and/or enrolments (more on this below)
  • Reduce drop-outs and improve your retention rate

2. Creating a stream of new students

Optimise your alumni engagement strategy to attract and enrol new students. 

An improved reputation will establish you as a leading education provider. This can help you attract new students who have never studied with you before. 

On the other hand, students who have already studied with you are more likely to show loyalty to you. Engaging with this student segment can create a natural pipeline of re-enrolled students.

Alumni engagement is a great way to generate reliable lead volumes, raise your profile and provide long-term study opportunities.

Apply these strategies in your marketing and outreach efforts and get impressive results fast. 

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Claudia Reiners
Head of Strategy
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