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Select an Online Community that Fits All Stages of the Student Lifecycle

by | Jul 14, 2010 | Industry News & Trends

Many schools look to educate and nurture the “whole” student — their minds, bodies and souls. They spend large amounts of time and money on designing the curriculum and activity offerings. But if you are focusing your online community around only your alumni, you could be missing a crucial opportunity for exchange and loyalty building.

1. Prospective students and parents — show this group what it’s like to attend your school. You can ply them with descriptive words on your website but nothing impresses a potential student like hearing from his peers. Play up blogs, encourage connecting, post scholarship and/or admissions information, entice them into your world. While this group is trying to decide whether they are going to fit in or not, don’t miss the opportunity to assuage their parents’ concerns or provide them with a community connection with current parents. After all, we’re all just looking for a place to belong.

2. Current students, faculty, staff — this is your institution’s current environment. Give faculty the tools to create their own pages, post materials, lead interest groups. Connect current students in a buddy/mentor program. Accept admissions applications online. Use bulk email to simplify communications and cut down on the expense of printed materials.

3. Alumni — keep their contact information up-to-date as they re-establish friendships though your community. You provide them with a safe and secure online community, one branded to you and in accordance with your mission and goals. Provide them with current information on your school and deepen the loyalty they have for you in general. Allow for career networking and job postings. Encourage referrals to both the community and admissions (after all, some day their children will be looking at schools).

When using an online community and membership management software for your entire school community, you not only benefit from consistent branding and a one-stop shop approach but your students, alum and faculty always know where to go. They don’t need to juggle/remember multiple URLs, emails addresses and logins. You’ve tried to make your school a place they can grow and reach their full potential. Shouldn’t your online school community reflect those same intentions?


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