Should admissions offices rely more on faculty, less on current students to win prospective students over?

January 26th, 2011 Karine Joly 12 Comments

Since I started to write on this blog (almost 6 years ago – in February 2005), online efforts for admissions have focused on relying on current students (or young graduates hired as admissions counselors) to reach prospective students.

High-school seniors (like most folks) were known to trust friends or people they could identify with, aka “people like me.”

However, now that everybody has more friends on facebook or twitter they can count on, it looks like the Wise and Knowledgeable are back in style when it’s time to make a decision.

That’s what Edelman TrustBarometer 2011 presented earlier today in Davos (via Steve Rubel) found.

This comprehensive study conducted in several countries every year for the past 10 years has found that a vast – and increasing (70% vs. 62% in 2009) – majority considers academics and experts as very or extremily credible.

What’s important to know to understand this shift is that the same study found in 2006 that a “person like me” was the most trusted.

Edelman TrustBarometer

Colleges have used faculty members to seal the deal by calling prospective students – later in the admissions process.

However, I’m wondering if this shift in trust doesn’t call for earlier interventions from the most trusted people today – maybe via blogs, videos or even chats targeted to prospective students or their parents.

What do you think?