How graduation can help in student recruitment

Your school’s graduation ceremony is not only a celebration of your graduates’ achievements, but it can also give prospective students insight into your school’s culture and community.

At many schools, commencement is the largest campus event, where the widest array of people (either in person or through social media) will interact with your school—including graduates, family, friends and prospective students.

Prospective students use social media to research colleges

Although most prospective students don’t attend commencement in person, they do visit schools’ social media sites to research the ones they are interested in attending. According to a 2020 study conducted by mStoner and TargetX:

  • 58% of the teens who researched colleges used social media in their research
  • Of this 58%, 63% visited college social media channels during their research

The study also showed that the respondent’s visited school’s Instagram and YouTube accounts more than other social channels.

Commencement symbolizes your school’s culture & traditions

Publishing photos and videos of your school’s graduation to your social media platforms is a great opportunity to not only help prospective students get a feel for your school’s culture and traditions, but it can also help them visualize themselves being a part of your community and ultimately reaching their goal of one day walking across the stage at graduation to receive their diploma.

Image via William Paterson University

Using graduation to communicate your school’s culture

Here are a few ways that our clients have used graduation to show their school’s culture and traditions through social media:

Graduate profile videos

Image via Arizona State University YouTube channel

Arizona State University created and published short videos to its YouTube channel that profiled its outstanding graduates from each academic area. These videos show the diversity of the school’s student population, helping prospective students identify with other students that have similar backgrounds, academic interests and career goals.

The school also created short videos of their graduate and undergraduate ceremonies as well as a video that highlights the support graduates received from their families to reach their goal of graduating.

Special photo areas for graduates, family & friends

Image via Santa Clara University

Creating special photo areas for commencement can bring graduates, family and friends together to capture and share that special day and can show prospective students that celebrating accomplishments as a community is valued at your school.

Santa Clara University is a great example of a school that created a special area, with lots of colorful balloons, signage with their school’s name and class year, as an exciting backdrop for graduates, family and friends to take photos together.

Celebrate traditions

Image via Brown University

Celebrating traditions helps provide a sense of belonging and nurtures the common connection shared by members of your school’s community.

Brown University’s Commencement Procession is the school’s “oldest and grandest” tradition. Prior to the University’s commencement ceremony, alumni, family and friends gather along the streets of campus to cheer new graduates as they make their way to the ceremony venue. After the new graduates pass through, alumni join the Procession and walk through as new graduates cheer for them.

The Commencement Procession helps to build strong bonds between Brown’s alumni and new graduates, and reinforces that graduates have a life-long connection to the school.

Personalize the moment

Image via University of Texas at Arlington

Students want to feel unique and special and that they are not just a name or number. Taking extra care to personally recognize graduates’ accomplishments demonstrates your school’s commitment to creating an environment where students are valued as individuals.

The University of Texas at Arlington, and many of our other clients, use MarchingOrder’s ceremony display solutions to personalize their graduation ceremonies by displaying their graduates’ image, name, degree and other information as they walk across the stage receive their diploma.

Make an impression on prospective students

As you develop your social media strategy for commencement, remember that your content can also make a huge impression on your future students as they research, evaluate and ultimately decide where they will go to school.