2020 College-Bound Student Survey: Download The Report

Month: September 2020

Spark451 Media RelationsBy Spark451 Media Relations|September 30, 2020

You already know 2020 has been an unusual year for college admissions (to say the least). However, you may still be surprised by some of the findings from Spark451’s latest College-Bound Student Survey. For example, in spite of all the hype in the media, less than one percent of students who responded to our survey ended up taking a gap year!

Get the Report

This summer, thousands of 2020 high school graduates responded to the Spark451 Education Research Division’s ninth annual survey on the college selection process. Download the full report to gain access to all the valuable information for college admissions professionals, including:

  • The Class of 2024’s social media habits
  • Students’ reactions to test-optional admissions policies
  • Which influencers have the most power over college decision-making
  • The effect of virtual events on college decisions
  • So much more

Download the report now. Then, reach out. We’ll be happy to help you determine if your upcoming admissions marketing and student search plans are fully in line with the latest data from students.

Let’s Chat This Week

Month: September 2020

Spark451 Media RelationsBy Spark451 Media Relations|September 21, 2020

These days, we often find ourselves wistfully humming that classic Rod Stewart song: “Wake up, Maggie, I think I got something to say to you. It’s late September and I really should be back at school.”

Well, here we are, in late September, and many of us are still not in our “normal” routines of being on campus or out recruiting for 2021. For us at Spark451, we’d normally be heading out to the annual NACAC conference for a few days of meetings, meals, and energizing conversations with higher ed industry colleagues and friends. We’re really going to miss seeing all of you in person this year.

Even though we can’t exchange a hug, clink our glasses, or even extend socially distanced elbow bumps, we don’t want to miss out on a chance to catch up this week. That’s why, if you’re attending NACAC virtually, we hope you’ll pop into our virtual booth at NACAC’s virtual Exhibit Hall for a direct chat with our strategy team. We would love to:

  • Hear how you’re doing
  • Discuss how recruitment season is going so far
  • Brainstorm tactics to help you achieve your goals, regardless of the circumstances

Know that our hearts go out to everyone in our industry who has been impacted by COVID-19. Like you, we’ve found these last several months to be challenging, but we remain optimistic that this too will pass, and we’ll all be stronger on the other side. We hope you’ll stop by our virtual booth this week, and we can’t wait to see you in Seattle in 2021.

The Key to Effective Virtual Recruiting Events

Month: September 2020

Spark451 Strategy TeamBy Spark451 Strategy Team|September 8, 2020

It’s September, and you’re probably feeling added pressure to provide prospective students with a variety of engaging and meaningful interactions from afar. Even though your recruitment season is well under way, you still have a little time to ensure that your institution’s virtual recruitment presence resonates with students. We’ve got your back.

Whether you’re gearing up to participate in a virtual college fair, prepping for an online Open House, or simply trying to craft a remote info session that will pop off the screen, Spark451 can help. Our Virtual Experience Support Package contains everything you need to capture students’ attention in a digital environment. Best of all: We can pull it off in a short timeframe.

Check out the details, and then reach out to discuss specific plans for your school. We’re here for you!

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Name That September Tune

Month: September 2020

Steve KergeBy Steve Kerge|September 1, 2020

It’s September first—cue the music…What do you hear?

Maybe: “September,” by Earth, Wind and Fire?

Or: “September Morn,” by Neil Diamond

This year, it’s more likely: “Wake Me Up When September Ends,” by Green Day

Regardless of your preferred musical genre, there’s probably a tune that sums up that feeling of putting the summer behind to focus on building a prosperous future for you, your family, your school, and its students. Over the past six weeks, I have taken the time to connect with enrollment managers at more than 40 campuses, and I thought I would share a few common themes and positive solutions so you know you are not alone.

Mental Paralysis

More than half of those I spoke with discussed some level of mental paralysis in their division or within their campus. COVID’s forced shift to working remotely since March (which still continues for many of you throughout the nation) has resulted in a state where long-term strategic planning has fallen in priorities. Senior leaders on campus were forced to work on the urgent as opposed to the important for too long, and now everyone’s having a hard time getting back on track. Let’s face it, it’s easy to procrastinate the tough decisions.

If you can relate to this sentiment in some way, I would suggest you check out this quick article from Psychology Today, titled: How To Get Unstuck From (almost) Anything.

Campus Pride

I’m equally excited to report that, in spite of all the challenges over the last several months, the vast majority of you remain fiercely proud of your campus, your colleagues, and your students. So many of you defend your campus’s decision to open or close as an effort to balance safety with the importance of your school’s role in fostering a productive future for our world.

You all also have a wide range of stories, from herculean efforts to deliver exciting virtual visits, to assisting families impacted by COVID-19. Those examples are incredibly relevant to our world of enrollment, and I know there are a multitude more that touch almost every corner of campus. It makes me wonder why more of these stories are not in the media each week.

I’m sure you have a cool “campus story” to shout about. Guess what? It’s worth it and it will make you feel great. So use the hashtag #ProudCampusMoment and get the word out on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.


This one seems unavoidable. Beyond COVID-19, there is so much happening in the world now, and it has us all on edge. But I like to keep these blog posts directly related to our industry. This is normally a celebratory time in our cycle with classes starting, admissions recruitment travel kicking off, national conferences for rekindling professional relationships, and so much more. However, like most of 2020, this September is quite different and many of us are feeling anxious as a result. It’s important for you to know that this is a very common feeling among your colleagues, and I believe your strength and professionalism will carry you through.

In the meantime, allow me to share a low-commitment method for reducing stress at work. Check out Entrepreneur’s 5 Science-Based Tips for Reducing Work-Related Stress.

Looking Ahead

In my next blog, I will offer you a number of supporting points to illustrate that private colleges and universities throughout the nation are actually better positioned to flourish now than they were prior to COVID-19. Stay tuned and, until then, check out the Top 20 Songs About September.