GPRS Higher Education Marketing Agency


GPRS Higher Education Marketing Agency

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Insights from the Higher Ed Experts

BY Anthony Campisi | April 15th, 2021

Finally, some good news for higher education

Goods news for higher educationGMAC’s 2021 Prospective Students Survey Report has reported some great news for higher education. While the pandemic is still a major part of our lives, vaccines and dropping case numbers are giving hope after a year of uncertainty and chaos. What does this mean for the higher education industry, and your programs specifically? As prospective students are emerging from their pandemic hazes, concern about the virus is waning. Prospects are showing more interest in graduate education.

Read on to find out about recently reported trends and advice on how to communicate to your prospects amid these positive shifts in the market.

Women are on board with remote learning

While the pandemic has impacted everyone in different ways, studies show women have been disproportionally affected. While working from home, women often shoulder the additional responsibilities of managing remote learning for their kids. Many woman have put their career aspirations on hold and moved into survival mode. But restrictions are starting to loosen and there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Women are starting to focus on their next steps professionally. They are considering higher education as a means to give them a boost.

According to Sangeet Chowfla, president and CEO of GMAC, “It is especially encouraging to find female candidates seeking advanced business degrees for career advantages despite the unique challenges and barriers they faced due to COVID-19.” But they still need flexibility. While considering graduate programs, many women say they prefer online programs. They consider them to be equivalent to in-person options as it relates to education quality, career opportunities and networking.

So how can you communicate to your female prospects during this time?

  • Realize prospects are looking to brush up on professional “soft skills.” Highlight your leadership development program and how it can further their skills as leaders.
  • Focus on how an advanced degree can make them competitive amongst peers, especially when emerging from a career shift or pause.
  • If your program is online or hybrid, be sure to communicate specifically and simply about the logistics of course delivery, group work, networking and opportunities to interface with client companies. Women want to know what their time commitment will be.
  • If your program is in-person, take the time to offer personal consultations that facilitate a two-way conversation.

International candidates prefer on-campus learning

One of the main drivers of international students’ ambitions to pursue advanced degrees is the opportunity to work and network outside their own country. According to the GMAC report, amidst the pandemic, over 70 percent of international candidates reported they still plan to continue pursuing an in-person degree experience vs. their domestic counterparts (52%). In addition, the U.S. is a top choice for students from India and Canada. There has been a small drop-off in prospects from China, which could be due to political tension and more business school programs in Asia.

So, how can you communicate to your international students during this time?

  • Continue to utilize the media and communication strategies you’ve used in the past. Although nothing about the past year has been “status quo,” you can rest assured your international candidates are still interested. They want to hear from you.
  • Enhance communications about internships, networking and job opportunities. These are the key drivers to their decision making, so be sure to highlight these.
  • If your program is online, let them know there are still ways to network with their cohort. They can attend recruiting events that can lead to employment opportunities in their country of choice.
  • If your program is in-person or hybrid, address any concerns regarding travel and living in the U.S. Ensure their comfort level with plans to study abroad.

Although this report only addresses a portion of your prospect pool, the news is encouraging. Demand for graduate education is increasing and now is the time to double down on recruiting efforts.

GPRS is an extension of your team

If you are looking for ways to update your digital marketing strategy to account for shifts in the market, GPRS can help. Enlist a partner that can identify where you need help, offer you solutions and suggest new strategies for setting and achieving your goals. If you’re ready to start the conversation, contact GPRS today.


Insights from the Higher Ed Experts

BY Anthony Campisi | February 24th, 2021

Some women choosing to put degree aspirations on hold

Some women are choosing to put their degree aspirations on holdBarriers to pursuing a degree are mounting as the weight of the pandemic drags on — especially for women. If you’ve noticed fewer female prospects in your funnel, it’s not an illusion. While cost remains a factor, women are finding it harder to get on board with online learning. They’re worried about job loss, and they miss the invaluable in-person networking of the past. Additionally, time is a commodity as many are disproportionally shouldering the burden of childcare and remote school for their kids. As a result, some women are choosing to put their degree aspirations on hold.

A recent article in Financial Times reported many women are shying away from MBAs right now. The progress in evening out the gender divide in business schools has stalled. Although you can’t necessarily remove all of these challenges for your female prospects, you can communicate with them in different ways to re-spark their interest, instill confidence and keep them engaged in the admissions process.

Develop new personas

When you create personas for marketing purposes, you do a deep dive into what your audience is thinking so you can address the barriers to their decision making process. Although you may have already developed personas for female prospects, you may consider revisiting them or creating some new ones. People you are talking to today may be the same demographically, but have a different mindset from a year ago.

Interview some current students to get their perspective. Do your research on what women are managing right now. However you approach it, just be sure to address their challenges head-on and focus on the solutions they’re seeking.

Make admissions more personal

Since the past year may have completely altered your female prospects’ working environments, personal lives and career aspirations, it’s even more important for recruiters to personally connect. Giving women the opportunity to tell their story during the admissions process will make them feel validated. Finding convenient times for phone calls, video chats and texting will showcase your program’s flexibility. And focusing on how you can help them set and achieve new goals will go a long way in building their trust and confidence.

You may also want to emphasize the peer support they will receive in the program with fellow students who are going through the same challenges. Knowing they’re not alone in their struggles may help them feel more encouraged to tackle a degree versus putting it on hold until things even out.

Be authentic

Your female prospects have always been driven, intelligent and powerful. And now, they’re even more adept at identifying authenticity. In a year where relationships have been tested in both work and personal lives, women have become astute at evaluating risky situations and unapologetically doing what is best for them regardless of social norms or expectations.

Craft your communications carefully – what you say will carry more weight now than ever before. Be transparent – tell the truth about time commitments, cost, benefits and outcomes. Be empathetic – show you care about their challenges and struggles and you are ready to support them.

Employ some minor shifts in your marketing and recruiting strategies to help female prospects feel more comfortable pursuing a degree.

If you need more ideas on crafting communications strategies or personas to address the changing landscape of the prospect field, contact GPRS today. We can help you develop a plan to maintain a balance within your funnel. Let’s start the conversation today.



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For over two decades, GPRS has been a trusted higher education marketing agency, offering custom solutions to institutions of all sizes and degree types. Admissions directors, marketing directors, deans, and presidents rely on GPRS to provide a depth of services, including strategy, lead generation, digital marketing, nurture communications, recruiting, and analytics.

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