content marketing

How to Engage High School Students with Content in 2020

In the rapidly changing landscape of high school advertising, it is important to meet your students on the right platforms, at the right time and place.



Academica Group and Glacier surveyed 1,397 high school students in January 2020 exploring high school students’ usage of marketing and branding resources for postsecondary institutions. These students primarily came from Alberta, British Columbia, and Ontario. This study built off the findings of the 2019 survey into how today’s high school students interact with key media and postsecondary marketing initiatives.

To access the whitepaper, please click HERE.


Give Them the Content They Want via the Channels They Prefer

One way to offer prospective students specific, relevant, and visually appealing information is through targeted email campaigns. When asked how they wanted to receive information from colleges and universities, students overwhelmingly prefer email to any other type of communication channel. 

Communication Preferences

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But, it's important to consider the relative impact of various tactics when designing your marketing strategy. Our study shows that for grade 12 students, email (79%) is the preferred method of communication while students in grade 10 and 11 want to communicate via text (42%), social media direct messaging (28%), or forms on the school's website (31%).

Communication Preferences (By Grade)

Communication Preferences

Align Brand Messaging

Regardless of the channel, the only way to get the attention of high school students is to make it clear that the content you are offering is relevant to them specifically. In short, make sure you give them what they want. Our study found that prospective students want details about programs (82%), costs (72%), and dates/deadlines (67%). Aligning content with your audiences can further help inform your strategy. Unsurprisingly, dates and deadlines turned out to be event more important to grade 12 students than to students in grades 10 and 11. 

Content They Want to See

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Throughout this messaging, it's critical to know what kind of higher education experience high school students are looking for. When asked, they said that they want their higher ed experience to be fun, inclusive, welcoming, and diverse. Academic factors, such as being prestigious, educational, and providing strong opportunities are also important to many students. 

Education Experience Word Map

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Brands that demonstrate an alignment with these types of qualities, demonstrating high quality work alongside a good campus experience, will be most successful in meeting student needs. This is not enough alone, however: In order to avoid messaging pitfalls, institutions will need to speak to the key decision factors influencing students' choice of institution. 

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