College Enrollment Trends & How To Stay Ahead

Published on October 25, 2023

College enrollment trends are witnessing a dramatic change. Since 2010, the number of students enrolling in post-secondary undergraduate education has dropped from 18.1 million to less than 15.1 million in 2022. Instead of heading from high school to college, 45% of young Americans now skip this generations-old approach.

It’s cause for reflection. Yet rather than see college enrollment decline as a negative, it’s time to shift course and meet people where they want to be. The right approach will open the doors to higher learning.

Common Trends in College Enrollment

Some of the most common trends in college enrollment center on value, business models and talent management. First, college enrollment statistics show that the perceived value of post-secondary education isn’t what it used to be. Roughly 54% of parents now want their children to pursue a four-year degree, dropping from the 10th to the 47th priority. Even one-third of graduates question their degree’s value, especially since 37% of today’s top skills have undergone a shuffle since 2016.

Another trend focuses on faculty and higher-education employees, where talent management is key to retaining staff. In one survey from the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources, about 35% of respondents were ready for new employment; only two-thirds of them would seek another higher-education institution.

Regarding business models, the days of faculty dictating the courses and curriculum are over. These days, skills and social realities are helping drive the structure of academic degrees. This is also what employers are looking for in prospective employees.

Big-name universities and colleges still catch employers’ eyes, but there's no guarantee that smaller-scale institutions will do the same, despite the fact that there are many excellent smaller-scale institutions nationwide. Partnering with an intermediary pathway like MedCerts can give students the skills and theoretical knowledge they need to land employment.

Tips To Entice Future Students

Here are our top tips for remaining competitive.

Stay Updated on Consumer Learning Trends

Knowing trends and consumer preferences can help you understand and incorporate different learning styles. They can also guide your program offerings, showing which skills and industry sectors are gaining prominence and which are declining.

Education niches can also be valuable for your intuition. If you offer programs that others don’t, you’ll naturally attract prospective students seeking an up-and-coming skill set.

Start an Academic Partnership

With partners like MedCerts that offer in-demand training programs, you’ll gain a competitive edge. Along with courses teaching sought-after skills, academic partnerships help students with credit for prior learning (CPL) transfers, letting them put their coursework toward degree credit. Your institution benefits from increased college enrollment, and students benefit from a reduced barrier to entry.

Elevate Your Social Strategies

Customizing your social strategies across branding and marketing efforts expands your reach in the potential student market. Consider these tips:

  • Create prospective student personas (international students, adult learners, career-minded professionals, high-school-to-college students).

  • Craft social posts catering to each persona, helping students visualize themselves at your institution.

  • Establish a posting calendar, and use scheduling tools to ensure new content appears regularly.

  • Rotate content categories, such as student personas, latest updates, educator-focused, on-brand entertainment and community building.

Get Ahead With Academic Partnerships From MedCerts

It’s time to turn college enrollment trends around by working with trusted educational partners. With MedCerts, you can personalize education and give students the necessary skills to reach their full potential. Reach out to learn more about our educational solutions.

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Written by
Rafael Castaneda
Senior Vice President of Workforce Development

With more than 20 years in the postsecondary arena, Rafael has focused on workforce strategies that build programmatic pathways for unemployed and underemployed students from underserved populations.

Before joining MedCerts, Rafael was the chief academic officer and dean of education at CBD College, a private two-year allied health college in Los Angeles. He also served as a strategy and innovation leader for Jobs for the Future (JFF) crafting connections between postsecondary actors and thought leaders. He is a member of the advisory board of the University of California, Irvine’s Customer Experience Program. Rafael has worked with over 2K schools and 1K workforce organizations & employers on solutions.

He strongly believes the three-legged stool of workforce success are schools, businesses, and community organizations but they need a catalyst and that is where MedCerts comes in – as the driver of the solutions to supplement and complement the three.

A passionate believer in education as a great equalizer, Rafael joined MedCerts because the organization provides the opportunity to actively participate in bridging the digital divide and skills gap for unserved populations of students. This extremely rewarding and tangible championing of education-based initiatives alongside serving all demographics students provides a rare opportunity to not just speak, but do.

Rafael is a husband to a brilliant and talented wife, father to two ambitious daughters, and an active member of his community. You will find him at a spin class most weekday mornings and doing outside activities with his family and their French bulldog, Penny, on the weekends. He has lived and worked in all time zones and in nine states over the past 12 years. Connect with Rafael on LinkedIn.

Published on October 25, 2023

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