Students who were homeschooled for high school are exceptionally college-ready, according to U.S. News & World Report.1 In a study conducted by Dr. Michael Cogan of the University of St. Thomas2, 66.7 percent of homeschooled students went on to graduate from four-year colleges, compared to 57.5 percent of their peers who attended traditional high school. Although homeschooled students are ready for college, career college recruiters face a challenge attracting them, since promotional strategies geared toward traditional high school students may not reach homeschooled audiences. Career colleges seeking to attract homeschooled students must take measures specifically designed to reach this target market. Here are five ways career college recruiters can reach out to homeschooled students.
1. Advertise at Homeschool Education Centers
Homeschool students and parents often receive support from local education centers designed for homeschooling. For instance, homeschooled children in Wautaga, Texas can attend the Center for Home Education, which offers classes for all grade levels from kindergarten through high school.3 Career college recruiters can reach homeschool audiences by advertising at these centers. Sites such as Home EDucators Resources Directory4 and Homeschool Directory5 provide directories of local homeschool support groups that can be searched geographically.
2. Speak at Homeschool Education Centers
Homeschool education centers also provide public speaking opportunities for career college recruiters. Recruiters can modify their standard presentations to appeal to homeschool audiences, stressing, for instance, the nontraditional affinity between homeschooling and career colleges. For best results, schedule a separate meeting with homeschool center directors prior to your presentation to go over presentation details and get approval to make any offers or pass out materials you intend to share.
3. Participate in Homeschool Conferences
Recruiters looking to reach the homeschool market should participate in homeschool conventions, conferences, and curriculum fairs. For instance, Seton Home Study School, a popular homeschooling organization, lists schedules of homeschooling conferences around the country on its website.6 When participating in these events, focus on networking as well as promotion. Reach out to other vendors as well as participants and use a signup sheet at your booth to build a mailing list.
4. Reach out to Online Homeschooled Audiences
Use online marketing methods to reach homeschool audiences. According to an article written by Jimmie Lanley of iHomeschool Network,7 which specializes in reaching homeschool audiences, homeschool moms favor Facebook, making this an important marketing channel. Lanley suggests using social media marketing on channels such as Facebook and YouTube in conjunction with blogging to market content on search engines. She also stresses the importance of using visual aids when marketing to homeschoolers online, saying that this is one area where many companies that rely on text-only marketing fall short.
5. Create Marketing Materials Geared Toward Homeschoolers
When marketing to homeschool audiences, it's important to modify your standard promotional message to speak to their specific needs, stresses iHomeschool Network.8 For instance, homeschool parents aren’t usually coming from an educational background similar to that of traditional teachers, and often they’ve chosen homeschooling to avoid features of the public school system they dislike, so educational jargon may fail to effectively communicate with them or may even turn them off. In some cases, homeschoolers use different terminology than traditional schools. It's important to learn the language of homeschoolers and speak to them in their terms.
Homeschoolers are generally frugal, iHomeschool Network reports, so emphasize value with them. Another way to connect with homeschool audiences is to emphasize that career colleges share a blended learning approach with homeschooling, making career college a natural extension of what they're already used to.
Recommended for you: 5 Growth Programs for you Career CollegeResources: Photo Credit (1) U.S. News & World Report (2) Exploring Academic Outcomes of Homeschooled Students (3) Center for Home Education (4) Home EDucators Resources Directory (5) Homeschool Directory (6) Seton Home Study School (7) LinkedIn (8) iHomeschool Network