Moving the Needle

Virginia Western Community College

Virginia Western Community College (VWCC) is a two-year public institution of higher education operating on a 70-acre campus located in Southwest Roanoke.

Challenge

In 2011, Virginia Western wisely anticipated the leveling of admission increases and selected Access to help with their marketing efforts, better articulate their brand, and refine their messaging.

Virginia Western To VT

Due Diligence

Access conducted a full audit of Virginia Western’s existing marketing initiatives, researched quantitative data on regional market dynamics, and prepared a comparative analysis between two- and four-year competitive schools and Virginia Western in order to determine primary differentiators. In addition, focus groups with area high school students were conducted to learn what students consider to be important factors when making decisions about higher education.

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Results

Using our business intelligence and insights, Access created messaging and creative executions that ultimately proved to resonate and influence our student and parent target audiences in ways that got results. And while everyone thought that the enrollment boom had passed as schools statewide experienced leveling enrollment. Virginia Western saw the highest enrollment levels since the early years of the college at a time when only one other community college in the Virginia system saw an increase.

College spokesman Josh Meyer described a typical increase in a good year as one or two percent, but in one year the college’s enrollment grew 10.84 percent — marking the most dramatic enrollment increase in the school’s history, and outperforming the entire Virginia Community College System.

Such dramatic growth involved a combination of factors, including excellent facilities, strong faculty, and leadership. This was underscored by a productive and pleasant partnership between Access and Virginia Western’s capable internal marketing department and progressive, award-winning creative.