Colleges use big data to recruit students

Madison Rexroat

With a more competitive than ever academic atmosphere and the rise of big data technologies, colleges are using algorithms and individual internet tendencies to target potential students.

Colleges, in their efforts to increase campus diversity and improve their academic rankings, typically buy names from large organizations like the College Board and the ACT, their priority being low-income high school students with top test scores. With this process, advisors are essential so that sought-after students don’t feel overwhelmed by college recruitment efforts and they can choose the college that will provide the best education for their specific needs.

Although using this technology allows schools to recruit specific students and promote economic diversity on campus, it does call into question school funding. As more low-income students are recruited and given scholarships, colleges have to find that funding elsewhere. That need typically drives colleges to boost their recruiting efforts to students who can afford to pay the full tuition (aka students from affluent, well-to-do families) which leaves low-income students with fewer options.

For colleges who do want it all – high-achieving students, low-income students, out-of-state students, minority students – while still surviving financially, their recruiting efforts and admissions strategies will undoubtedly have to undergo significant changes.

To read the full story in The Atlantic, click here.