Objective 4 – “Right Stuff”: maintain a sustainable, diverse and high-quality student body across all our degree programs
Context: As noted in the introduction, several external trends make maintaining the volume and quality of the applicant pool a challenge. The strategic planning process identified reputation, professional focus and affordability as key factors that influence application numbers. Objectives 1-3 contain elements and action items that address these three areas. We expect them to support the pursuit of Objective 4. Additionally, the steps below should be taken to preserve a robust applicant pool.
Strategy: In addition to bolstering the School’s reputation through improved research output, expanding the career-enhancing curriculum and raising money for scholarships, the School will sharpen its communications and deepen outreach to promising segments of prospective applicants.
Admissions and Financial Aid Director, Laurie Hurley discusses the role of students in the strategy:
Approaches and Action Items:
1. The School will target its communications, faculty outreach and admissions resources at potential students and “influencers.”
a. The School will appoint a small working group to craft a message that communicates the School’s excellence and distinctiveness in a manner that is effective and attractive to prospective students (as well as alumni, donors, employers and other audiences). The message should build on our well-deserved reputation for multidisciplinary strength, intellectual engagement, tight global network and an education that prepares students for dynamic careers. It should project an image of the School being at the leading edge of research and teaching on issues of salience to potential employers. Other issues to be considered include the School’s name and a motto. The School may bring in an external facilitator with marketing/branding expertise to guide the review.
b. The School will reach prospective students and “influencers” through direct outreach such as targeted messaging, advertising, brand promotion, social media and recruiters on the ground as well as indirect outreach (inserting Fletcher into their information sources). The School could more effectively leverage Fletcher’s database of alumni, non-alumni, and institutional and stakeholder contacts to develop targeted, periodic and relevant outreach and messaging campaigns. Alumni clubs could enhance the School’s outreach efforts in certain markets around the world. The studio mentioned under Objective 2 will help make Fletcher faculty more visible in the media.
c. The School will optimize the website for admissions purposes and as a dynamic portal to communicate Fletcher initiatives and achievements. The School will make additional improvements in communications and outreach, including leveraging faculty travel, streamlining content on the website, using more video, and possibly employing search engine optimization.
d. The School will improve communication around post-Fletcher professional successes. This will require better tracking of alumni in order to show individual as well as collective successes.
e. The School will leverage Tufts University’s upward national trajectory and reputation, as well as disciplinary strengths (such as health sciences and international relations), and do more outreach with Tufts alumni and their networks.
2. The School will enhance admissions efforts in potential growth areas such as BRICS countries and other emerging markets and mid-income nations such as Turkey, Indonesia, Colombia, Mexico and Saudi Arabia. As part of this effort, the School should continue working to identify and target relevant cities as well as high profile media platforms in these markets. This effort must be linked to fundraising for scholarships as well as to seeking government and other third-party sponsorships.
3. The School will enhance the diversity of Fletcher student body by targeting under-represented groups, including prospective students from Africa and Latin America as well as US people of color. This effort must be linked to fundraising for scholarships, possibly targeting high net worth prospective donors from the priority regions. Faculty diversity is also crucial and will be pursued actively.
4. The School will continue conducting outreach to other promising segments of prospective students, including US veterans, Peace Corps volunteers, AmeriCorps volunteers, younger students and students with families.