The Future of Recruiting: What’s Your Story?

Despite increased competition for students, soaring costs, and news of small colleges closing, we see a bright future for college recruiting. Your freshman classes may look different than ever before. So does the world they live in.

In exploring the new realities of changing culture, we’ve identified some bright spots where innovative institutions are thriving. Attracting each of these audiences will require progressive thinking and unique approaches.

  • At about 70 million and counting, the next generation of potential college students is big.

  • Non-traditional students (age 25 and older) are also going back to school in record numbers, with projected increases of more than 23% over a ten-year period to 2024.

  • There are now more than 1 million international students on US campuses.

  • And minority students make up more than 40% of today’s student body.

So how can your institutional branding reach such diverse audiences? Your plans will be multi-faceted for sure. But one element unites all your plans.

You have a story that sets your school apart.

Your recruiting approaches, your campus visits, and your use of technology all reflect your own one-of-a kind identity. This identity is born of the story no other school shares—your history, your vision, your priorities, and even your personality. We call this identity your “edge”—that distinct something that makes your institution uniquely you.

Your identity drives your brand and underlines everything you do, setting the stage for telling your story in different ways. Your identity doesn’t change with the audience, but the way you communicate the identity does. As you expand to new audiences, you’ll tell your story from varying perspectives.

A great story engages the student, places them into the narrative, and inspires a dream. Through this story the student envisions the challenges they will face and overcome, achievements they will accomplish along the way, and friends and mentors who will become characters in the journey. A great story changes the lives of those who play a part.

At 5°, we’re your partner in defining your distinct brand and communicating your “edge.”

Let’s talk about telling your story.



5 Degrees Blog.

Fry, Richard (2016). “Millennials overtake Baby Boomers as America’s largest generation.” April 25, 2016. Chart: “Births Underlying Each Generation.” Pew Research Center.

National Center for Education Statistics. Digest of Education Statistics: 2014. Table 303.40.

Ross, Jr., Bobby (2017). “Small religious colleges struggle for survival.” November 23, 1017. Religion News Service.