How to Recruit Hispanic Students for Your College or University

Gen z is the most diverse general ever. Here are the strategies you need to recruit Hispanic students for your higher education institution.

Few marketers have to keep their eyes on the coming generation like higher education marketers.

They’re among the first to begin working out messaging strategies for new generations coming up into young adulthood.

For the first time, though, the coming generation isn’t just different because of their age. They’re different in their ethnic makeup.

Generation Z, or iGen as some others call them, is the most ethnically diverse generation to date as recorded by sociologists.

Big Changes Ahead

Not only are Gen Z students ethnically diverse, they’re heading for college!

Take a look at these bar graphs from The Pew Research Center’s study on post-Millennials:
When this study was released (November 2018), the post-Millennials in the study were from 6 – 21 years old.
Almost half of students about to enter college – up to 48 percent – are “nonwhite.”
The study doesn’t break down the ethnic diversity among post-Millennials.
But it shows clearly that most Gen Z students are not Caucasian, which traditionally has been the highest represented ethnic group among college students.
Specifically in the United States, this means the overall population of Gen Z prospective students will be made up of mostly of Hispanics, African Americans, and Asians.
While there may be certain regions or schools with a special focus that won’t see such a drastic shift in their student demographics, smart education marketers need to begin crafting strategies that will reach an increasingly diverse target audience.
According to the data, adopting a multicultural approach in your education marketing will be key to keeping enrollment numbers healthy well into the future.

They’re Hungry to Learn

There’s one more aspect of The Pew Center’s research that needs to be emphasized: “More Post-Millennials” are “pursuing college.”
As they describe it, more post-Millennials are enrolled in college than Millennials were when they were to enter college.
This is great news for enrollment marketers!
And it’s also great news for minority communities – especially the Hispanic community.
Because Hispanic students have largely been underrepresented in American colleges and universities, there’s a harmful stereotype that Hispanics aren’t interested or able to afford higher education for their children.
But the data shows that nothing could be further from the truth.
There’s no shortage of interest or capability on the part of Hispanic students to come to college.
Hispanic students are hungry to learn and improve the economic conditions of their families.
There is great demand for higher education among Hispanic students.
But if you don’t know how to reach these incredibly diverse young people, you’ll miss the opportunity to build loyalty for your education brand.

How to Recruit Hispanic Students

Get United

The first thing education marketers must do to recruit Hispanic students is to make the case to institutional leadership that this needs to become a priority.
Unfortunately, many education leaders are unaware of the shifting demographics among Gen Z students.
In fact, many are still talking about Millennials without realizing that a new generation is ready for college.
As an education marketer, you’ll need budgetary resources and messaging approval to reach Hispanic students and their families.
Make sure your leadership is on board with this shift in your marketing strategy and are ready to back you up with tempting offers that will entice first-generation Hispanic students to come.

Craft New Marketing Profiles

Practically speaking, one of the first things you’ll have to do is craft new marketing profiles for your Hispanic prospective student.
Please, please don’t lump Hispanic prospective students in the same profile as the rest of your Gen Z prospective students!
As a Hispanic marketer, I can assure you that the cultural nuances, life experiences, and economic realities are so different that you will need a new audience profile for Hispanic students.

Partner with Seasoned Experts

To craft your Hispanic student profile, it is worthwhile to connect with seasoned experts who know how to market to the Hispanic community.
While you can go a long way with research and studies, having an experienced Hispanic marketing agency partner can go a long way to getting you a high ROI quickly.
In my talk with Hispanic marketing veteran about how nonprofits can reach their Hispanic audience, he stressed the need for partnership.

“If your nonprofit recognizes the need for Hispanic marketing, that objective will probably butt heads at some point with general market goals. Plenty of organizations end up working with both a Hispanic marketing agency and a general market agency. This may seem complicated, but successful collaboration is a game-changer.” – Aldo Quevedo, Principal and Creative Director, Richards/Lerma

Invest in Content and Social Media Marketing

Hispanics are big into social media. And most of them access their social media feeds via their mobile devices.
To reach Hispanics, then, you need an active social media presence.
As you produce quality content that speaks to the needs and concerns of Hispanics, you’ll be able to attract them to your website, landing pages, and lead capture forms.
Should you produce different content to attract Hispanic prospective students?

Most Hispanic students have the same concerns and needs as any other student – but there are some differences.

  1. Create more content for parents. For Hispanics, the family is much more involved in the decision-making process. Parents are always an important audience for education marketers, but you’ll need to create much more content for Latino parents than other parents.
  2. Create more content around finances and financial aid. No one in higher education likes to talk about the costs involved. But this is probably number 1 on the minds of Hispanic parents, many of whom are first-generation immigrants with limited finances.
  3. Create content that helps welcome and onboard Hispanic students. This is a good practice for all students, but with many Hispanic students, they’ll be the first ones in their family to go to college in the U.S., or to go to college at all. They need content that will help them adjust to their new life at your college. If you want to increase brand loyalty among your new Hispanic students, produce welcome packs in English for the students and in Spanish for the parents.
Create Offers that Appeal to First-Gen Students

No amount of marketing can make a bad deal look attractive. Your offer to Hispanic prospective students is just as important as how you market it.
For many Hispanic students, this means that they’ll need financial help to make their educational dreams a reality.
Creating a first-generation student scholarship fund, or a campus diversity fund, or something of this sort will show Hispanic students that you want them there!
I understand education marketers can’t make these decisions, but that’s why you must be united with your school’s leadership.
As marketers, we have to show our leaders why these decisions are so important to attracting prospective students to our schools.
Present the stats to your executive leadership. Make the case.
Do your best to get them onboard so you can make an offer to Hispanics they can’t refuse.

Get Alumni and Donors Behind the Change

Alumni and donors are two stakeholders that shouldn’t be ignored.
As we said earlier, to recruit Hispanic students, you will need well-funded scholarship programs for first-generation students.
But who’s going to help pay for those scholarships?
You’ll need the financial support of both alumni and your general donor base.
Raise support for your multicultural marketing by marketing your new scholarship programs to your alumni and donors.
Give them time to get onboard with you. Create and publish numerous campaigns to show them why this is so important.
And of course, make the ask for their financial help when the time is right.

Recruit Hispanic Students as a Team

Recruiting Hispanic students is a team sport. You’ll need executive leadership, alumni, donors, and marketing partners to make this initiative a success.
Of course, it will take time to grow the number of Hispanic students on your campus, but if you start marketing to Hispanic prospective students now, you will be ahead of the curve.
By the time other universities are waking up to the drastic demographic shift among Gen Z students, you’ll already have more brand recognition among Hispanic prospective students.
Generation Z is bringing some of the biggest challenges ever for education marketers.
But if you’re ready, it can bring some of the biggest opportunities for your school.

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