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The Importance of Fun to Undergrad Prospects, the Senior out-of-state shift, and the Halda-Slate Partnership

The Importance of Fun to Undergrad Prospects, the Senior out-of-state shift, and the Halda-Slate Partnership
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Welcome to Halda Insights, Issue #8. Before we get into the issue, the information we've gathered on the graduate student journey is now available in our full-fledged, at-your-fingertips, Grad Student Engagement Report for 2023-2024.

As always, our in-house data insights are in bold. Enjoy!

Are undergrads seeing your fun side?


-31% of future undergraduates claim that one of their top priorities in choosing a school is “to have fun on campus”, up from 28% of respondents in 2022.*


-First-generation undergrad students are 38% less likely to claim “fun on campus” as a priority compared to continuing generation students.


After enough years in the workforce, it’s easy to look back on the college experience through a utilitarian lens. Hindsight casts college as just 4 short years to prepare for a lifelong career, and one forgets that actual students see it differently (and once upon a time you did, too). 


Alongside networking and career preparedness, domestic students, especially, recognize college as a time for whimsy, for exploration, for fun. Around 30% of 10th-12th graders claim fun as one of their top 2 priorities in choosing a school. And regardless of US region and race, fun is top-of-mind for future students (peaking at 54% for students in the Rocky Mountains).


This should come as a boon to enrollment marketers. Infusing fun into marketing tends to make brands feel more friendly and less intimidating.


This brand personality appeals not only to continuing generation students, but even to first-generation students who approach the college search with a little imposter syndrome. Fun also offers an interesting differentiator for schools. Lots of schools have similar degrees, but there aren’t accreditation standards you have to uphold when having fun.


So don’t be afraid to tastefully highlight your school’s specific brand of fun. It will make your brand more relatable, more authentic, and you might even have a little fun, yourself, along the way.


* Students were asked to share their top 2 priorities

The Senior Shift: 12th Graders eyeing out-of-state options

14% of 10th graders consider only out-of-state colleges

15% of 11th graders consider only out-of-state colleges

25% of 12th graders consider only out-of-state colleges


This is a fascinating discrepancy in the data that deserves some attention. Seniors are 67% more likely to exclusively consider out-of-state schools compared to their 11th-grade counterparts. 1 in every 4 college-bound seniors completely eschews in-state schools–that’s a huge number! We can’t speak definitively on exactly why this is the case, but we do have some well-informed theories.


First, this might be pragmatic. Seniors who didn’t gain acceptance to their beloved in-state school might shift their focus to out-of-state options. On a more positive note, as students delve into the application process, they often discover available scholarship options that make out-of-state institutions more feasible. They also discover out-of-state programs that align more closely with their developing career goals. 


Our prevailing belief, however, despite these legitimate factors, is that the alchemy of senior year (remember that feeling?) inspires in many students a previously untapped sense of exploration and possibility. Going out-of-state, away from their roots toward new locales and new experiences, is the manifestation of that inspiration.


And with prescient messaging and the right timing, you could pull these students toward you.

Halda has partnered with Slate!

First off, thanks to those of you who helped us with the Slate partnership announcement. This is the culmination of years of vision, testing, and creativity. Some of you have even been actively involved in this process, helping us fine-tune our integrations. The result is a connection between Halda and our partners’ Slate instances that provides a constant flow of information and ties top-of-funnel marketing spend to down-funnel results.


This partnership is a recognition of all that meaningful work. Here are a few ways this partnership will help us provide even more support for our Slate users:


👍 Access to the Slate Knowledge Base, a library of materials for understanding Slate functionality.


👍 Training and learning modules to help up-level our team's Slate skills.


👍 Participation in Slate community forums for insight and discussion with other users and vendor-partners.


To learn more about the nuts and bolts of the partnership, read our official Slate announcement.

This partnership is a part of our overall effort to connect with other systems. Along with Slate, we also integrate with FACTS, Salesforce, and Zapier to help our clients--and more integrations are coming!


Stephen Tomkiel, Director of the MBA program at The College of New Jersey, is a self-described Slate nerd who knows how to get the most out of these types of integrations. Here’s some insight into how he builds out a powerful Slate instance and how he uses that data to connect with students and inform his marketing decisions.

The Enrollment Cliff is coming...but the Search Cliff is already here

Higher ed enrollment, even before the dreaded Enrollment Cliff, is suffering some slings and arrows. None, however, are as immediate and dramatic as the Search Cliff–the drop-off in prospect names available for purchase and contact.


While some will struggle more than others with this shift, it’s going to affect everybody (especially undergrad recruiting). Here’s an in-depth look at why the Search Cliff is happening, who will be most affected, and how to thrive in the post-Search Cliff world (Hint: It involves AI productivity).

Thanks for checking in, and stay tuned for more data and AI insights!

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