It’s never been more important to have a strategy in place to increase enrollment.
Generating leads and getting applications are still important – but they are no longer enough to get students through the door come the fall. And even deposits aren’t as accurate a measure as they used to be.
With so much uncertainty, having a strategy in place to improve enrollment is so important. We profess the power of three things: communicate with your students, recognise their unique circumstances and connect them with a peer.
1. Communication to improve student enrollment
It’s really important that the opportunity to connect with a peer is highlighted across communications. Having the opportunity to speak to someone makes a huge difference and can be the difference between choosing to enroll or defer.
Regular contact, or at least the opportunity to have regular contact, will help give these students more confidence and a feeling of having more control. And all of us know that when we feel we have control over our decisions, we feel less anxious and more motivated.
Even email, which we don’t typically associate with Gen Z, can be effective when used correctly. What matters is the ability to engage your current student body and alumni. When you couple this together with products like Unibuddy, you’re well on your way to helping power students’ decisions through peer-to-peer connections and nurturing those relationships.
2. Segmentation, segmentation, segmentation
You will know well that every student is an individual, and their unique circumstances will also come with unique challenges. Those individual characteristics are important to be aware of now more than ever.
The challenges that a First Gen student will face are very distinct. The motivations of an international student will differ from a domestic student. An out-of-state student will have different questions to a more local student.
Communicating with them is one thing – but communicating relevant information is key to improve student enrollment. Answer their questions before they have them, and send them the right information at the right time.
3. Connect them with a peer
You already know that campus tours are important. They have a proven impact on yield and on reducing melt.
By why? There is, of course, a practical element. Students want to see a campus to ensure it meets their expectations and needs. See that the dorms are close to the classrooms, there is study space for everyone, the sports facilities are up to par.
But much more importantly, there is the emotional element. This is what is sometimes called the ‘sense of belonging’ that students gain from these sort of events. It’s about seeing the campus, figuring out whether they can imagine themselves living there. But it’s also about meeting their fellow applicants and prospects, and the current students whose shoes they will fill. The small interactions with a campus tour guide can be essential for developing that sense of belonging.
And we believe the key to that emotional element is the opportunity to connect with a peer. When you’re booking a holiday, or deciding where to go out for dinner, we often go online and read reviews of people who have been there recently.
And when your prospective students are deciding where to study, they want the exact same thing! They want to speak to students who are currently there, studying their degree and living the experience.
Whether it’s through in-person or virtual events, 1-1 chats or even user-generated content, make sure your students have the opportunity to hear from someone like them.