Assessing Your Enrollment Management and Student Success Program

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“Time to look forward to Thanksgiving and Christmas.
We will take some time off and get rested.
It has been a very busy fall and we need a nice long break.”

This may have been the thinking of some admissions programs in the past but not today…

Now is the time to recharge and prepare yourselves for the remaining work that needs to be done for the spring term and be certain that you have what you need, at this point,  for the fall and spring enrollments. Certainly there should be some time off but not until we know we are ready for the start of our January activities.

We offer the following four steps for you to consider between now and Christmas. At the highest level, we suggest that you collect data, discuss it, and make certain the strategies you have in place are the right ones and that they will be successful. What follows is how to do that. You may want to use some of this material for discussions of your program with your staff and with others. For example, faculty and staff from other offices may benefit from hearing about your program and where it is at this point. Will your goals be met? Are you still doing the right thing?

Step 1: Gather and analyze your enrollment numbers

Enrollment Management and Student Success Metrics

Step 2: Consider the following about the work this fall:

  1. Were there strategies that we should not use again? What were they and why not should we not use them?
  2. What were the strategies that worked well that we will continue to use?
  3. What strategies would we like to use but we did not bring them up during the fall because someone might think they were inappropriate?

Step 3: Gather data about your Acceptances this fall:

  1. What is your school’s process for acceptance? What is important to stress? Can you explain the process to potential students? Be specific.
  2. What is your school’s process for awarding financial aid? Can you go over it in detail? How will that influence your work in the spring and in the fall? How does your office communicate about financial aid? How does the financial aid office communicate with student?
  3. Talk to the students recruited for fall 2013.   Meet with four or five groups and get their opinions on their experience. What has gone the way they wanted? What has gone badly? Would they write or video a recommendation for the school. Would they be willing to call students?

Step 4: Look at skills and knowledge of your staff. Do any of these areas need to be improved?

Step 5: Reflect on your Value and the Key Variables in every Enrollment Management and Student Success Program

In a recent thought leadership seminar offered by EMAS Pro, an expert in financial aid indicated that the biggest contribution to the present concern with defaults on student loans is communication. We just do not do a good job in explaining the process and insuring the student selects the “right school.” Often the phrase ” the right school” means a school which the students see has high value for him or her. With this high value there’s less of a chance that the student will default.

Working with value can be challenging for the school that struggles to get the attention of the potential student. It can be easier if you look at the overall process and design your approach, including presentations, to address the key variables in enrollment management. These key variables are:

  •  Value: If value is high, the communication objective would be to maintain value. If the perceived value is not high, the communication objective is to create value for the student and influentials.
  • Readiness: Is the student ready for college? A large part of the default and retention problem would go away if we only accepted students we feel have the readiness to succeed. If students are admitted who are not ready to succeed, the school needs to help them prepare.
  • Communication Channels Used: Letters, cards, visits, phone calls, social networks, personal and Impersonal. These are all appropriate channels. Sometimes the one to use depends on how anxious you are for the results.
  • Content: This defines the topics covered and how they are handled. For instance, a faculty brochure would be about faculty. But, how do you want to talk about them–experts, teachers, advisors, etc.?
  •  Awareness: How aware are the students of your school? If the awareness is low,  a higher amount of communication will be needed.
  • Amount of Communication: How often do you communicate? We know that one or two times may not be enough.
  • Financial Aid: If they value the school and look like they are ready, then begin to discuss aid. Evaluate what impact the cost will have and suggest that the school is worth the investment– if it is.

Addressing the combination of these key variables that will help to enroll a student who will enroll and stay.

Learn More About the Thought Leadership SEMinar Series

Drs. Ron and Dori Ingersoll have been leaders in Enrollment Management since 1975. They have served as consultants, Vice Presidents of enrollment, and as leaders in training and development of individuals and groups for enrollment and student success. Their latest collaboration was with AACRAO in editing the book: Strategic Enrollment Management: Transforming Higher Education.
Copyright ©2013 Drs Ron & Dori Ingersoll and EMAS Pro

 

 

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