Believe it or not, attracting prospective students is not the hardest task of the recruiting process. In fact, each year, the number of students interested in further studies increases. What is harder to do is to attract the right students and guide them through the process of enrolling. This article focuses on admissions best practices on how to reduce attrition.
ADMISSIONs BEST PRACTICES
First of all, the enrolment funnel is the process of guiding students through all the steps that are between discovering the institution and enrolling. The first situation in which the student finds himself is awareness, followed by the retrieval of information, interest, application, and finally the enrolment. It is important to keep in mind that there are many funnels and that students may enter at different stages of the process.
Funnels different entry points
Not all funnels are equal. Each institution has a different recruitment funnel, even if they are all similar. However, not all students enter the funnel at the very top. Most of your partners offer you student leads who are at the very top of the funnel. Some other partners provide you with students whose interest is higher and thus they should not be treated the same as the students who don’t know anything about your school. You should enter students at different stages in your funnel depending on which partner is providing it. This tactic might be harder to use if you’re outsourcing part of your admissions process to an external provider.
Collaborate with Partners
Students that find your institution on the web with a simple search are more likely to get more information about it than the people who simply see an ad somewhere. They are driven by curiosity. They trust Google and its results. Therefore, having a partner talking about you on the web is extremely important. Plus, once a student has established communication with your partner, they can let you know if the student is looking around for other schools. By having a partner with whom you can talk to and get information about the student, you can easily see who is really motivated to attend your university and who is not.
It is important to keep in mind what worked and what did not from the previous years so that you can avoid making the same mistakes. If things get too hectic, that is when your partners can help. They are the right hand you are desperately in need of.
GO FOR ENGAGEMENT AND EMAIL MARKETING
Once the university has a clear vision of which students have shown interest, it has to engage with them. It is good to establish communication through emails in which the university invites the students on campus, sends them some news, and perhaps even student experiences and stories. A study from the Enrollment Services Research and Analysis show that in 2016 approximately 28% of all deposits came from students that did not respond to the first four emails. That means that it took at least five emails before receivers read the email and actually took action.
Our experience at EDUopinions shows that “warmed up” students, who have entered the funnel at advanced stages, reply to the first or second email.
However, it is important to focus on prospective students rather than your college during the recruitment process. Talking about the campus and what it offers makes sense but students like more to read messages about high-performing colleagues on campus, for example.
Thoughts on Admissions Best Practices
There are many strategies that universities can and should use during their recruiting process. Your partners can send reminders to prospective students about your university and can also let you know if those students are looking around for other institutions too. Generally, a blog is the tool through which universities and prospective students start interacting before the recruiting process. If used correctly, email marketing and Open days are also good ways to attract students. Have you identified the right practices for your school yet?