By clicking “Accept”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts. View our Privacy Policy for more information.
min read

How to build a student journey strategy to become Gen Z's university of choice

Published on
September 29, 2023

Luuk Koedam


Table of contents
Subscribe to Reel Talk our newsletter
By subscribing you agree to with our Privacy Policy.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

In university marketing, the student journey is becoming increasingly important. Whereas universities could rely on their name and fame in the past, only the top universities for straight-A students can do so nowadays. 

With an abundance of online courses and increased competition, reinventing the student journey and your higher education recruitment strategy is critical if you want to be the university of choice for Generation Z.

The student journey: from aspiring student to graduate

The student journey begins when a university is included in the shortlist of an aspiring student. Capturing their attention and immediately engaging them with your story is crucial for attracting new top talent.

Improving the student experience with a good student journey strategy

A student journey strategy is a comprehensive plan that outlines the entire lifecycle of a student's experience. It involves designing and optimizing every touchpoint and interaction a student has to ensure a seamless and positive experience. 

To build a solid student journey strategy, it's essential to understand its components and the key steps involved.

How to build a student journey strategy in 5 steps

The student journey is all about showing young people what they are interested in and directing them to courses that spark their interest. Combining fun with demonstrating professional options may be the secret to increasing admissions. 

Here’s a 5-step plan to set up your University’s student journey strategy. 

Step 1: Map out the student journey

If you have the opportunity to obtain many touch points, it is critical to lay them out and ensure that you offer the appropriate information at the right time. Mapping the student journey can be very helpful to do so. A typical journey is divided into four stages.

  1. Discovery: This is the first moment of interaction with your audience. When students hear or see something about your university, making the best first impression is crucial.
  1. Investigation: In the investigation phase, students dig into what your university has to offer. Do you offer the courses they want, how is life on campus, and do the university's values reflect their personal values?
  1. Experience: Is your university being considered for an on-site visit? Then it's time to give them an experience they'll never forget.
  1. Admission: Seal the deal. Make it as easy as possible for students to get started with the admissions process. And provide all the necessary information to keep them interested. 

The student journey plays a crucial role in helping schools cater to individual needs more effectively, by providing a structured framework for personalized support and tailored experiences.

Step 2: Discovery - Create the best first impression with your university marketing 

Your marketing must ensure that you are visible as a university. From socials to events, it's all about that initial impression of your wonderful university.

Yet, if you have the students' attention for just a split second, it is critical that you keep it and make the most memorable first impression possible. Students' interests vary, and offering general information could cause them to drop out of your student experience before it has even begun.

With an attention span of only 8 seconds, you need to improve your game. Old brochures or dull landing pages with extensive text simply aren't entertaining enough. 

Fortunately, catering to various student personas has become easier. Think of eye-catching social media profiles or entirely interactive content experiences. Begin by asking students what they want to discover, followed by showing them exactly what they want to see.

It’s all about creating an entertaining and engaging experience while collecting valuable data.

Example of a student journey at NHL

Step 3: Investigation - Create interesting pages for your courses and studies 

When you are fortunate enough to capture students’ attention, it is now time to guide them. Due to the enormous amount of information available on university websites, this can be a big hassle. 

Making it simple for students to find out what kinds of programs and courses you offer is critical. 

You can do that by creating appealing and simple to understand landing pages for studies and courses. Make it enticing for them to learn more about what they may expect and try to keep it brief. 

Include some student testimonials and videos to help them understand what they will study and their job options. Consider showcasing alumni for example. 

Additional ideas to capture interest in the investigation stage

There are many more options to make the investigation stage as fun and interactive as possible. The end goal should be to make it to the shortlist of universities students want to visit. 

  • Study guides with an interactive content experience
  • Virtual campus tour including interaction to explore student life on campus
  • create an interactive experience/story for every study

Be creating fun and interactive experiences for studies, potential students discover what they can expect in a fun way and use it as a study guide.

Step 4: Experience - Create an impressive campus tour

An aspiring student typically visits one to three universities. So if you are on this shortlist, it’s your time to shine and make it a memorable experience. 

Make an entertaining campus tour that they will remember. Consider including quizzes or presenting entertaining films of the places they visit. You could even design a mobile campus tour so they can visit it at any moment. But never lose sight of the human touch.

Give the experience a personal touch, whether it's on an arranged open day or just because they're in the area. Make it possible to meet students or talk with professors. Alternatively, allow them to attend regular classes.

Example student journey TU Delft

Step 5: Complete the journey with an easy admission

Most of the time, admissions are boring. Students must fill out numerous forms, send many documents, and then basically wait. This should be a much more interesting and pleasant approach. 

Before they get started, walk them through each of the steps. Show them what they have to do and what to expect next. To motivate them even more, show them content that highlights how much fun it is to be a student at your university during the process. 

This is your moment. Be that university that makes the admissions process a topic of conversation. A process that makes them even more eager to enrol at your university. 

Don't forget to provide something extra interesting and something they can share once they submit. Because your students are your university's finest recruiters.

The most effective student journey to recruit students

If you want to develop the most successful student journey to attract new students, think like a kid again.You can also request the help of your present students. 

They know exactly why they chose your university or a specific program in the first place. 

Finally, use technology in order to make it more engaging, enjoyable, effective, and measurable. 

Don't know where to begin? With Intractive, you can improve the entire journey step by step through interactive content experiences. 

Have a look at the examples of student journeys on our website or book a demo right away.

Ready to change the way you tell stories?

Become and interactive storyteller and immerse your entire audience in your world, today.

It only takes 5 minutes.

"If you want to stand out you can't afford to create boring content. "