Cara Lambregts

6 Ways to avoid empty seats in your classroom


All higher education institutions have a goal in common – filling seats in classrooms with the right, high quality students. Having empty seats not only signals a decrease in interest in your institution but can cause revenue disruption. To overcome this, it is crucial that institutions remain diligent and consistently update strategies to keep seats filled with the best students.

Here are Studyportals’ 6 ways to avoid empty seats in your classrooms.

1. Use Data Strategically

“Real-time data not only lets me measure the return on my annual investment in the platform, but also understand broader trends in prospective student demand” Laura Montgomery – Senior Director, College and Enrolment Marketing The New School

Data is an asset that can be imperative to recruitment strategies. Data can identify where students are coming from, where they are interested in traveling to, what programmes are peaking in interest, etc. Using this information, it is possible to make key decisions on your recruitment strategy that will give effective and long lasting results.

 2. Optimise Your Programme Portfolio

Higher Education is designed to give students opportunities to expand on their interests and learn skills that can contribute to their future. Programmes should be up to date with the trends and interests of the upcoming students. Programmes such as Sustainability, Human Computer Interaction, and International Business are just a few of the up-and-coming subjects that students are looking to study. These programmes are driving the future, and it is necessary to not only add them to your portfolio but also to ensure students are hearing about the latest opportunities your school offers.

3. Break through the digital noise

It is no secret that the higher education market can be saturated with diverse types of schools and programmes that are available for students to choose from. With this competitive field, it is necessary to ensure you are rising above the noise. In all your promotion, highlight what makes your school unique. Use keywords to attract students to your pages so that they can learn more about what you have to offer and be sure to remain honest and authentic in all products that you share. Honesty and authenticity are ideals that are held in high regard by this new generation of students.

4. Connect with students, where they are

Students are always finding new and exciting ways to communicate. Years ago, it began with MySpace, then Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and now platforms such as Instagram, and TikTok have taken over as the top platforms Generation Z utilise. The new generation of students has an entirely new way in which they make decisions and communicate. It is key to not only reach out to them through best medium, but to  ensure your message aligns with the values that they hold important. This new generation values sustainability, honesty, and authenticity. Be sure to emphasise what is important to your institution. When you have the message that you want to share – communicate with the students through the modes of communication they engage with the most.

5. Build A Strong Ambassador Programme

One of the best ways to reach students is by connecting them with those who have experienced life on your campus Instil a peer-to-peer system so that current students can connect with potential students, and share their experiences as well as answer questions that could only be answered by someone in the same age group. This brings authenticity and transparency to your school as students will be able to share their unfiltered truth and experiences. Additionally, sharing alumni stories can give potential students a full picture of the journey they can expect to take while attending your school.

6. Diversify Your Recruitment Strategy

When creating a recruitment strategy, many schools have countries that they will always turn to and target. Although this creates a sense of safety and security for the institution, the results can have a negative impact. Relying on only a limited number of source countries can increase risk when there are changes in regulations, travel restrictions, or diplomatic rows. However, by diversifying there are many benefits that institutions can unlock Diversifying improves the quality of the classroom experience, creates a global alumni network (which can be beneficial in recruitment), and will establish your school as a global and innovative experience for future students.


The global student population is too big to have empty seats in your classrooms. Use data, programme portfolio optimisation, student ambassador programmes, authentic communication , and diversification strategies to keep seats filled and your institution on the map.


Do you want to learn more about what types of programmes you should be including in your curriculum? Read our latest report on what students are looking for now.

Do you want to learn more about how you can diversify your student recruitment strategy? Use our Diversification Guide to get started.




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