According to the Washington Post, student-athletes receive the most significant college admissions advantage. Students looking to apply to undergraduate schools know this and may use a university’s athletic program as a deciding factor.
Athletics programs are an excellent way to draw in revenue, showcase your institution’s brand, and build relationships. Attracting students to your program can be as easy as following a few simple tips.
- Showcase Your Facilities
Athletes like to imagine themselves exercising and competing in a facility before they commit. When they’re making their choice, they’ll need to know you have the right equipment for their training. Be sure that your facilities are up-to-date and kept clean and in working order.
Having a high-quality facility with the best amenities shows that your institution cares about its athletes’ growth and commits to a budget for the upkeep and updates. If you have unique equipment or facilities that other colleges don’t, such as rowing tanks or an archery range, make sure you emphasize them in any recruitment materials or presentations.
- Keep Your Info Current
Whether your department has a section of your institution’s main website or its own separate site, you must keep this page up-to-date. If you have outdated information on your website, it can send the message that your athletic department is a low priority or does not make impressive moves.
Obsolete information can also confuse potentially interested students. They may even reach out to the wrong number or email address and end up missing deadlines or losing out on the opportunity to apply altogether.
Focusing on your website is also essential to preventing data loss, keeping things accessible, and offering a user-friendly experience for all users.
- Clarify the Recruitment Process
Another important step to attract students to your athletic program is to help make the process as straightforward as possible for students. A student who hasn’t spent their life planning to be recruited to college for athletics may be confused about the steps they should take.
If you have someone to guide students, not only are they more likely to hit all the proper deadlines. They’ll also have a favorable opinion of your department and institution, which will make them more likely to apply and attend. Have knowledgeable people on your staff who can help students understand the entire process, from recruitment questionnaires, and in-college camps, to in-depth evaluations.
- Share Your Program’s Future Plans
Having plans for new equipment or fun events can boost motivation and get potential students excited to join you. If you’re planning on upgrading your gym, adding new rooms, implementing better technology, or putting in a new squash court, make your plan known.
No matter your plan, you should share your objective and goals on your website or directly with students. It will help them understand that the athletic department is active and growing and may help convince them that growing with your program is the right choice for them.
- Give Away Some Free Swag
Everybody loves free things, including student-athletes. Losing electrolytes is common during physical activity, and young athletes can always benefit from more hydration. Consider giving prospective students custom water bottles with your company’s logo to leave a lasting impression. T-shirts and drawstring bags, great for gym sessions, are another popular type of swag for athletes.
- Celebrate Your Teams
You’ve probably seen some of the most prominent schools show off their sports teams and mascots. This is an excellent way to show your commitment to the department and draw attention from potential applicants who will become excited about applying. Holding regular events and promoting them heavily shows that your department has a positive and invested culture. It also demonstrates that the college as a whole takes an interest in the athletic department.
Social media is an excellent tool for promoting your program. Today’s potential students are heavy users of Instagram and Twitter, and it’s easy for one exciting clip to be shared and re-shared, spreading awareness of your program. Your social pages can also be a great gateway to your program’s main page, where they can find out more information.
Be Devoted to the Department
While there are many quick tips you can use to attract students to your program, there’s no substitute for passion and dedication. You should ensure that there is an effort going towards the sports team, such as allocating a sufficient budget and meeting student athletes’ unique needs. When a program truly cares about those participating in it, everyone can tell, and the applications will come rolling in.