In our latest enlightening podcast episode, we provide a wealth of insights specifically curated for enrollment managers, community college presidents, and directors poised to shape the future of two-year institutions. This discussion is a goldmine for leaders seeking innovative strategies in student recruitment, equity, and retention.
Our knowledgeable host, Rachel Rosen Carol, engages with Jamie Wagner, the visionary behind ‘Media Prefs 2.0’, in a conversation that reveals groundbreaking tools and methodologies designed to streamline and enhance enrollment processes as we approach the fall academic season.
Discover the transformative features that are being lauded as game-changers in the way community colleges interact with prospective students. Learn about the nuanced challenges and successes in the current landscape, and how ‘Media Prefs 2.0’ addresses these with data-driven precision and creative flair.
This episode is an essential listen for forward-thinking leaders looking to not only meet but exceed the evolving expectations of today’s learners. Equip yourself with the knowledge to drive your institution forward, ensuring that every educational journey is as impactful and inclusive as possible.
Join us for a session that promises to elevate your strategic planning and leave you with actionable insights to chart a successful path through the complexities of higher education marketing and administration.
Welcome to the Community College Marketing Masterclass, where we explore the latest conversations happening in higher ed, including the trials and triumphs in recruitment equity, guided pathways, retention, and beyond. With over 25 years of experience working with nearly a thousand community colleges nationwide, Interact is proud to share best practices and insights from experts around the country. Tune in now for another great discussion with your host.
Rachel (00:33): I am Rachel Rosen Carroll copywriter at Interact Communications and a content creator, and I am interviewing Jamie Wagner, our executive director of Media Preferences, about some really new, exciting features that are coming out this year. We’re launching Media Preps 2.0 for the fall survey. So Jamie, anything you want to say before we dive into it?
Jamie (00:58): Yeah, we’re just really excited to share all the things we’ve been working on behind the scenes. So, very excited for this coming academic year.
Rachel (01:06): One really cool feature is the survey goal calculator. Jamie, tell us a little bit about that and how handy it is for colleges.
Jamie (01:15): Yeah, so the survey goal calculator is integrated into our brand-new portal that we launched last August. It allows colleges to set their own goals. You can enter your numbers based on your population size and the level of confidence you want in your data, and you can adjust it throughout the survey period if needed. Once you set it and the survey goes live, you’ll be able to track your participants in real time—those who complete the survey and those who start the survey but aren’t quite there yet—so you can see how close you are getting to your goal over the eight-week survey window.
Rachel (01:55): It’s a nice way to build up hype and get excited on the backend while your students are replying.
Jamie (02:01): Absolutely. It used to be a manual process where people would just email me asking, “How are we doing?” And we had a tracker for a while, but now it’s all built into each college’s central portal, so they can just log in and see where they’re at during the survey period.
Rachel (02:19): That’s really fun. An old thing that we used to do is we had passwords for every college to log into media preps, and we saw it was creating a bit of a hassle, so we’ve taken that away. Now, what do we have instead, Jamie?
Jamie (02:33): Starting in the fall 2022 survey period, we implemented a new method for college students to take the survey. Right, it used to be that students would have to remember a media preps link with a specific code to get into the survey, and what we found is that students would get to the website, forget the code, and have to go back to the poster or the email to retrieve it. We did away with that. Now we have single sign-on for students, which makes it so much easier for them to just get in and start the survey immediately. We have a link that colleges can share in emails or other communications, where students can just click and go directly into the survey. Or, we have a single sign-on through a QR code where colleges could put that QR code on posters or table tents, and students can just scan that right from their mobile phone and jump right into the survey. It eliminates the need to remember a password, and the feedback on that has been great.
Rachel (03:53): I love that. From our latest Media Preps data, we learned that students are really using QR codes quite a lot in the post-pandemic era, so that’s a convenient way to log on and take the survey. Another cool feature is the winner selector.
Jamie (04:18): This used to be a very manual process on our side. We used to pull winners for colleges, so we promoted to colleges that they should offer some sort of incentive for students who spend the time to take the survey. It’s a longer survey, so we suggest offering a prize, promoting it during the survey window, and then conducting a drawing either midway or at the end of the survey period. It was a lot of back and forth emails previously, but now everything is self-service within the portal. We have a “select winners” box for all colleges, which allows them to select however many winners they want—defined as those who have completed the survey and entered their personal information into our prize drawing system. Colleges can download all the students’ details and use some sort of random generator that they could live stream if they want to make a big deal about it, or they can let us do it. They press a button, it spits out the contact information for the winners, and then they can confirm the students are currently enrolled or eligible in whatever way the college deems fit before awarding their prizes. So yes, a very cool feature that puts it on the college’s side to select winners at any point during the survey window.
Rachel (06:07): That’s wonderful. And I know we had a recent blog about Houston, where they were awarding scholarships as one of their incentives.
Jamie (06:16): Yes, prizes come in all shapes and sizes. Houston was great because they offered $500 scholarships as part of their prize incentives, but we’ve also seen things like Nintendo Switches, which are really hot for students right now, Chromebooks, iPads, or gift cards. Students respond to a lot of different things. You have to find out what works for your students. We also see smaller weekly prizes, like leftover swag items or bundles from your bookstore, which also receive positive feedback from students.
Rachel (06:56): As a side bonus, having fun giveaways is great for juicing up your social media. Definitely a win-win. One of the most anticipated and requested changes in the survey was allowing students to take a break and then come back later to complete it. Tell us about that.
Jamie (07:16): We were really excited to finally offer what we’re calling a “stop and start” feature. Students can log into the survey, which acknowledges that it’ll take about 20 to 30 minutes to complete, but now they can leave and come back if they get interrupted. Many of our students are also parents or trying to squeeze in some survey time during a class break or on the job. We want to be as flexible as we can with students. We’ve implemented a feature where they can start the survey, and at the bottom of each page, there’s an option to take a break. By clicking that button, they can enter their email address and receive a link to continue whenever they’re ready. As long as they finish the survey within our eight-week window, they can pick up right where they left off. We also send out reminders if we notice they haven’t logged in to finish the survey, encouraging them to complete it.
Rachel (08:38): Terrific. And that’s just the new stuff so far, but we have even more exciting features to make Media Preps even more powerful, robust, and easier to use. Regarding the survey, we have a whole new builder with streamlined questions. Jamie, tell us about that.
Jamie (08:57): We’re super excited for this coming academic year. We’ve really amped up things behind the scenes, so we have a lot of great new features to welcome everybody back with, apart from our portal, which was also really exciting and keeps everything in one place. For the survey itself, we are doing a complete rebuild of our survey builder. It’s going to be more user-friendly for students. We have so many more opportunities in terms of question structure, like section randomization, to get a more balanced sample throughout the entire survey. We’ll have logic-based functionality, so if students don’t listen to music, for example, we can skip them past certain sections. This makes the survey shorter for those where it’s not applicable. It will be ADA compliant and mobile responsive, making it easy to take on a mobile device, where many students participate. We’re also streamlining it a bit, so we’re taking a deep dive this summer to condense where we can and add in things that are more relevant to students now.
Jamie (09:49): On the charts display side, we’re putting together a new export system that will look a little different and have more functionality. We’re hoping to integrate all of our qualitative data with our quantitative system, so everything will be displayed together instead of in separate places. Currently, the qualitative data is downloaded through an Excel file, but we’re working to combine that, so it’s easier to view all your data in one place. Another thing we’re super excited about is our billing process. For years, colleges have asked if they could just charge on a credit card, and we’re going to start accepting credit card payments as early as this fall or by next spring. We’re still finalizing that, but it should make it easier for colleges to navigate our billing process and not always have to request invoices. We’ll be able to offer promo codes and discounts throughout the year, so make sure you’re following Media Preps to be the first to know.
Rachel (11:08): That’s wonderful. I know we had a recent blog post about Houston where they were actually awarding scholarships as one of their incentives.
Jamie (11:16): Yeah, we see prizes come in all shapes and sizes. Houston was great because they offered $500 scholarships as part of their prize incentives. We’ve also seen things like Nintendo Switches, which are really hot for students right now, Chromebooks, iPads, or gift cards. Students respond to a variety of incentives. You have to find out what works for your students. We also see smaller prizes weekly, like leftover swag items or something bundled from your bookstore, which also receives positive feedback from students.
Rachel (11:46): As a side bonus, just having fun giveaways is so great for juicing up your social media. So, definitely a win-win. One of the most anticipated and requested changes in the survey was allowing students to take a break and then come back later to complete it. Please tell us about that.
Jamie (12:02): Yeah, we were really excited to finally offer what we’re calling a stop-and-start feature. So now, students can log into the survey and see on our opening page that it’ll take about 20 to 30 minutes to complete, but they will be able to leave and come back if they get interrupted. Our students are often parents, or they might be in the middle of class or trying to squeeze in some survey time during a break or at work. So we wanted to be as flexible as possible. We implemented this feature where they can start the survey, and at the bottom of each page, they have the opportunity to take a break. If they click that button, they can enter their email address, and they’ll get a link to continue whenever they’re ready. As long as they finish the survey within our eight-week window in fall or spring, they can come back and resume where they left off. We also send out reminders periodically if we notice they haven’t logged in to finish the survey, to encourage as many as we can to come back and complete it for their college.
Rachel (13:07): Terrific. And that’s just the new features so far, but we have even more new and exciting features to make Media Preps even more powerful, robust, and easier to use. Jamie, let’s talk about the new survey builder with streamlined questions.
Jamie (13:20): We’re really looking forward to it. Behind the scenes, we’ve really amped things up, so apart from our portal, which keeps everything in one place and is also very exciting, we’re doing a complete rebuild of our survey builder. It’s going to be much more user-friendly for students. We have so many more opportunities in terms of question structure, section randomization that we’re excited about to get a more balanced sample throughout the entire survey, and logic-based functionality. So if a student doesn’t listen to music, we can skip them past those sections. It will be ADA compliant and mobile responsive, so taking the survey on a mobile device will be very easy, which is important because a lot of students participate in the survey on their phones. We’re also looking to streamline the survey a bit, to condense where we can, and to update or add questions that might be more relevant to students now
Rachel (14:08): Awesome. Awesome. Well, I’m really excited for the new Media Preps. Jamie, can you let us know the dates when the fall survey is going to start?
Jamie (14:17): Absolutely. We don’t have hard dates yet, but our fall survey usually kicks off towards the end of September. I’ll start getting everyone together in late August to walk through some training materials, make sure everyone feels comfortable about getting ready to launch the survey. But it’s usually the end of September for about eight weeks. We wrap up around Thanksgiving, depending on where that falls. And then our spring survey kicks off around mid-February, usually around Valentine’s Day, and we’ll be open for about eight weeks, wrapping up mid to early April.
Rachel (14:50): Wonderful. And for more information, just visit mediapreps.com, right?
Jamie (14:55): That’s it, mediapreps.com.
Rachel (14:58): Easy. And keep in touch with us through our newsletter to be the first to know when things are happening. Well, thank you for being so generous with your time today, Jamie, and thanks for joining us.
Thank you for listening to another episode of the Community College Marketing Masterclass podcast, hosted by Interact’s team of two-year college experts. For more community college resources, insights, and downloads, including the transcript of today’s show, visit interactcom.com. That’s interact C-O-M dot com. And don’t forget to follow Interact on social media and subscribe to this podcast to keep your finger on the pulse of higher ed trends. That’s all for today. We’ll catch you next time.