Academic journal article College and University

HOW UNIVERSITIES CAN INCREASE ENROLLMENT by ADVERTISING INTERSHIPS: The Message and the Medium

Academic journal article College and University

HOW UNIVERSITIES CAN INCREASE ENROLLMENT by ADVERTISING INTERSHIPS: The Message and the Medium

Article excerpt

This study investigates how universities can increase enrollment by advertising internships to prospective students during the college search process. The primary reason students earn a college degree is to secure a good-quality career with earning potential. Internships-the single most important credential for recent graduates-are the key selling point for postsecondary institutions in gaining the attention of prospective students. Using the qualitative research method of focus group interviewing, this study reveals that college seekers pay attention to higher education advertisements that speak with them not at them. Prospective students most often cite social media, streaming television, direct mail, the Internet, and classroom visits as the most important "touch points." These findings will guide admissions and recruitment officers as they strive to communicate and connect with-and convince-graduating high school students to move from the college search to the college choice phase.

College students who had watched the movie The Internship, featuring Vince Vaughn (Billy) and Own Wilson (Nick), searched their iPhones using the key word "internship" as the credits rolled. Eager to land an internship to promote their own future careers, student viewers of the movie heeded the actors' warning:

Nick: You got us a job at Google?

Billy: Well, not a job job. It's an interview for an internship that could lead to a job. Nick, this might be the last chance that we've got.

Vince Vaughn (Billy) was right when he said that an internship could lead to a job. In 2012, 69 percent of companies with 100-plus employees offered full-time employment to their interns (Smith 2012), and 39 percent of companies with fewer than 30 employees offered full-time employment to recent college interns (Internships.com, 2012).

Between 2013 and 2014, 1.8 million bachelor's degreeearning students graduated (National Center for Educational Statistics 2013); four out of every five sought to land a full-time career (National Association of Colleges and Employers 2012). Gone are the days when a bachelor's degree was the ticket to full-time employment. "Students are realizing right now that they're in college in order to become marketable to corporate America" (Zmuda 2011). However, according to a 2013 survey, 63 percent of recent undergraduates thought they needed more experience and training in order to secure a career in their desired field (Haynie 2013). In fact, the key to full-time employment for recent graduates is what advertisers define as the "point of differentiation"-that is, what makes an individual stand out from other graduates. The answer? Internships. A recent survey revealed that 66 percent of employers contend that relevant work experience and interview skill "... are the most important factors in their hiring decisions- far more significant than strong academic performance" (Smith 2012). Marketplace partnered with The Chronicle of Higher Education and netted similar results from its survey of 700 employers around the country. The report concluded: "In industries across the board, employers viewed an internship as the single most important credential for recent grads-more than where you went to school or what you majored in. Even your grades" (Scott 2013).

Given the increased desirability of internships to students as well as employers, how are higher education institutions communicating such opportunities to students? Perhaps even more important, the current research addresses how universities can increase their enrollment by advertising internships to students during the college search process.

LITERATURE REVIEW

For students immersed in the job search process, internships are now being called the "new interview" (Smith 2012). The internship, a form of experiential learning, is defined as "learning and making meaning from direct experience." Internships require students to translate the concepts and the principles they learn in the classroom into practical application in the workplace. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.