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Marketing & Recruitment

Reach Prospective College Students: Write Emails That Lead to Clicks

email marketing conceptDo high school students read email?

As the mom of a high school senior, I sometimes have my doubts. Notes from grandparents can sit for weeks in my daughter’s inbox, and quick emails I send suggesting activities and even sales on clothes and shoes go unread. Lately, I’ve resorted to texting when I need her attention.

However, I have noticed that there are some emails that she does read consistently—and all do something to capture her attention from the second they hit her inbox.

My personal observation is consistent with findings in the 2018 E-Expectations Trend Report. Following are a few insights into how you can spice up your email communication to snag students’ attention—at least for a few seconds.

Play to their egos.

In the barrage of college emails that my daughter has received thus far, she actually reads the ones that make her feel special. Subject lines that include her name, personal stories from relatable students, and memes from deans are examples of emails that have prompted her to click through to the school’s website.

why students open college emails
 Source: 2018 E-Expectations Trend Report


Make your email responsive.

You may check email on your computer, and I may check email on my computer, but a 17-year-old RARELY checks email on a computer. However, nearly three-quarters of seniors and two-thirds of juniors surveyed said they checked email daily on their mobile devices.

Nudge them where you want them to go.

High schoolers have the attention span of a gnat, so if you want them to click through to your website, don’t make them scroll down to find the link. Instead, make it BIG AND BOLD and put it at the top of the page where it’s visible with a quick read.

Don’t waste their time.

According to the report, seniors have narrowed their decisions, but juniors are wide open and therefore interested in receiving information from a variety of colleges and universities. But don’t waste their time. Include no more than three bullet points or interests in your email. Stay away from academic terms and talk in their language. For example, my daughter will skip the “Academic Requisites” link, but is much more likely to click on “What Does It Take to Get In?”

Be authentic.

My daughter received an email from the admissions counselor of a university she had not considered. Genuine and personal, the email included the counselor’s cell number, urging my daughter to text with any questions, no matter how small. She did, and within a couple minutes, she had her answer. Needless to say, that school has inched its way up on her list.

Despite the efficiency and popularity of texting, the 2018 E-Expectations Trend Report found that email continues to influence students’ college decisions. So keep writing those emails, but don’t take your audience for granted. Raised online, this generation of students is savvy and sophisticated. More than any other demographic, they know when they are being pandered to or played.

Ready to learn more about student engagement? Download the 2018 E-Expectations Trend Report.

Download report

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