When communicating to practicals, keep in mind that they are driven by jobs and careers. Show how adults like them have in fact achieved those types of goals. Cite placement, promotion, and salary data and organize it by program. Practicals value the concept of—but tire of the wording—“real-world experience.”
The second group of adult students are the Dreamers. This group comprises two sub-groups: Starters and Finishers.
Starters have long desired to go to college, but life (work, family, other responsibilities, and finances) have prevented them from attending. For Starters, college is a new experience. While their motivations may be practical, they are almost never solely practical. Dreamers, like all adult students, are interested in majors that lead to specific careers, but at least a portion of dreamers are less career-focused.
Starters will require a bit more handholding. They will have higher levels of uncertainty, even fear. Often they will not know what questions to ask so be forward leaning in your communication. Walk them carefully through every process and step. As with other adult students, show Dreamers how adults with similar backgrounds have been successful at your institution and beyond.
Finishers are people who attended, but did not complete college. For many, their life circumstance has changed and college is again an option. Finishers may have decidedly practical motivations, but underlying those motivations is a desire to finish something they started. They want to close the loop.
In most cases Finishers already understand the value of college so your messaging needs to focus instead on completion. Show the resources you have to help Finishers complete their programs and move forward.
In the final analysis, successful marketing will depend on your ability to first understand the motivations of your adult students, and then on your ability to effectively customize the messaging.