How should community colleges promote business management programs
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How Should Community Colleges Promote Business Management Programs?

An associate’s degree in business management, project management, and administration opens the door to a range of career paths.

For those considering their role in the modern workforce, community college is an invaluable resource. Whether a prospective student is searching for employment options directly out of high school, or contemplating a career change after many years on the job, community colleges play a key role in helping them acquire the skills they need in their new line of work.

However, the biggest barrier to entry for many students is not knowing what career path to choose. This is often a combination of a lack of information regarding the options available to them, and an inability to picture what those careers look like in practice (usually due to the aforementioned lack of information).

We’ve recently been discussing a number of the popular community college programs that lead to stable careers, as well as ways that community colleges can better market them to their students. Of these, one option that has a lot of potential are the range of programs that all have to do with business management.

Advantages of a business management degree include:

  • Project Management programs are among the top 10 highest paying two-year degrees. Other business and administration programs are also linked to high-paying careers.
  • Business degrees can go broad or deep, allowing for widely applicable career paths or specialization. You can use a management degree to help launch a more successful business, or you can become specialized in human resources, entrepreneurship, or accounting.
  • Management and administrative positions are available across industries. This opens career opportunities that are not dependent on a specific geographic location or area of expertise, and makes them more stable even in times of economic uncertainty.
  • Business associate’s degrees offer plenty of options for further/ongoing education. While an associate’s degree on its own is linked to better job prospects, students who want to transfer on to a bachelor’s program, or to pursue niche certifications, have these options available to them.

Marketing ideas for community colleges to promote their business programs.

For community colleges, convincing students to enroll in classes when they haven’t selected a program is often an uphill battle. Community college students are more financially cautious, and less likely to enroll without a specific goal in mind. When marketing focuses too broadly on the “nice to haves” of community college enrollment, many of these prospective students are quick to raise objections, from the cost of enrollment to the difficulties of balancing their education against their job.

On the other hand, if community colleges are able to convince a potential student of the merits of a program, momentum begins to work in their favor. Once a person is able to envision the ways in which a program might improve their life, their focus shifts from raising objections to negotiating obstacles. Community colleges should do their best to advertise any support systems they have in place to help students complete their degree. But to win students over to that mindset, they must first offer up a clear picture of what their business program is like.

1. Get into the particulars of your program.

Business is a broad field, so discussing the specifics of what your programs cover can help make them more real to students. Are you offering courses to help students work in a human resources job, where they will need to practice negotiating different workplace conflicts? Or are you helping entrepreneurs in your area learn the basics of business management so they are equipped to navigate various legal and tax obligations? Getting into the specifics can help attract students who are more committed, and prevent students from being disappointed if the courses don’t match what they sign up for.

2. Contextualize your programs based on the job market in your area.

Another way to make a program more real for your students is to highlight employment opportunities in your region. What have graduates of your programs gone on to do? Do you live near a startup incubator where there is a lot of support for entrepreneurs? Are there large employers nearby who need qualified project managers? A student in a rural area who assumes business degrees are for Wall Street aspirants may sit up and take notice if they realize it could help them manage their family business.

3. Show how business management can work alongside your other programs.

As we’ve touched on already, management programs can be useful ways to heighten a specialized degree. For instance, if you have students who are enrolled in a trade program but are planning to start their own business once they graduate, business management can help round out their studies and increase their chances of success.

4. Promote transfer programs, if available.

While transfer programs are an option for many community college students, navigating them can be difficult, and many students can feel frustrated if they realize late in the game that some of their credits won’t come with them. Community colleges can help by working closely with students to guide them through their programs so that students can successfully transfer.

Use multichannel content marketing to spread your message far and wide.

At Aperture Content Marketing, we specialize in helping community colleges get their marketing message in front of qualified prospects. We do this through a multichannel content strategy that lets community colleges draw upon our library of resources, easily edit them to match their needs, and then distribute them via both print and digital methods for the broadest reach.

Our channels include print magazines which can be mailed directly to households, white labeled microsites to host featured content, and tools to share repurposed content to social media. With over twenty years of experience helping community colleges reach their audiences, we have seen firsthand the success our outreach has in helping community colleges grow enrollment in their programs. Contact us today to get started.