If you’re on the fence regarding where to go to college, who better to help influence your decision than real college students sharing their university experiences?
Since June 2013, employees from Northern Illinois University Admissions and the Division of Marketing and Communications have been partnering with students to create a new campaign focused on taking the rhetoric out of advertising by making NIU students the face and voice of the university.
That’s the concept behind NIU’s “We’ve Got That” campaign, where current students respond to frequently asked questions about the university from prospective freshmen and transfer students.
The first stage of “We’ve Got That” is currently under way, as NIU Admissions focuses on the enrollment of transfer students.
“You build credibility and trust with prospective students when current NIU transfer students share their stories,” said Andrew Hlubek, associate director of admissions. “Students are able to visualize themselves attending NIU when they have a chance to hear from current transfer students.”
Elyse Jares, Tony Roberts, Kristen Killian, Mike Wohlner, Chonce Maddox and Sam Campbell are among the first group of NIU transfer students who were eager to share their experiences by actively participating in the campaign.
“Being involved with the ‘We’ve Got That’ campaign has been an exciting opportunity,” said Killian, a marketing major from Plainfield, Ill. “It’s unique because of the different ways current students can share their experiences with prospective students.”
Additionally, participating in the campaign has provided Killian with hands-on experience placing ads in community college newspapers, reviewing promotional pieces, and more. She said that these opportunities will better serve not only her schooling, but her future career as well.
“Being an NIU Marketing and Communications intern gave me the chance to help launch a major campaign, and that’s really exciting,” Killian said. “Many of my responsibilities can be applied to my current classes, and not to mention my resume after graduation. Helping launch the campaign has taught me important lessons, like the importance of meeting deadlines and making sure not to cut corners.”
In order to capture the student voice, multiple focus groups were held with student organizations and current high school students to better understand what potential Huskies are looking for out of college. Some of the more frequently voiced concerns related to location, class size, campus activities, affordability and housing options, among others.
“It’s extremely important that student voices are the ones being heard for this campaign, because they are the ones with the experiences,” Killian said. “I think for most individuals it’s easy to be inspired when you can connect with someone who is just like you.”
Brad Hoey, director of Communications and Marketing, said it was important for potential students to know that their peers can relate to many of the concerns that they may face.
“The student experience is an important factor in the college decision, and our students have great stories tell,” said Hoey. “Having them share those stories will resonate with potential students and their families.”
A major focal point of the campaign is maintaining a consistent and engaging presence on social media.
“Students’ migration toward digital and mobile platforms necessitates us to use social media as one of the vehicles to reach our audience.” Hoey added. “We encourage all of our current students and alumni to participate and share why NIU was the right choice for them.”
So, are you a potential student with burning questions or concerns? Or are you a current student or NIU alum interested in sharing your college experience with the next generation of Huskies? No problem, we’ve got that, too – just use #GotThatNIU and join the conversation on social media.
Currently, NIU Admissions has open houses scheduled from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 14, and Friday, March 21, as well as monthly online chats and Transfers Get Information Friday (TGIF) events throughout the semester.
“We have so many great resources and programs to offer transfer students here at NIU,” Hlubek said. “TGIF is a great opportunity for students to meet face-to-face with our admissions counselors and take the next steps toward becoming a part of the Huskie family.”
For more information about transferring to NIU, visit GotThat.niu.edu.