16 December 2019
What can Mexican food teach us about college admissions?

“It’s the economy, stupid.”

In 1992 this famous de facto campaign slogan by James Carville, Bill Clinton’s campaign manager, was used to emphasize the importance of the struggling economy. The idea is that people cared more about the economy than issues of a social nature.

How does this relate to higher education admission?

Well, my de facto slogan is, “It’s yield, stupid!” And, frankly, we should care more about yielding our admitted students than focusing our resources on converting suspects to applications.

We’ve seen, for years now, that students are applying to more and more institutions. Which, of course, creates a great strain on our admission staffs and operations departments.

We’ve focused a lot of our efforts on increasing the number of applications for our institutions only to see our yield rates decline over the last several years. And yet, our overall enrollments haven’t exactly increased.

Measuring the ROI of your yield efforts

The idea of ROI wasn’t exactly in my vocabulary when I first started in admissions. As my good friend, Kelly Farmer at Carey Business School once said, “we throw spaghetti against the wall to see what sticks, but we never take any of it down, because that one piece might have been the one.”

But as we’ve been asked to decrease budgets in recent years, we’ve had to really evaluate the ROI of our vendors, outreach, travel, search, and so on. We want to see results. What is the effect on our net tuition revenue? What are we doing to focus our efforts on yield?

We get our best yield results from our admitted student days.

But what about the students that are from out of state, or students from a lower socio-economic background that can’t make it to campus? What about our international population? I’ll come back to that.

Control the narrative

Wherever I travel, I look for Mexican food.

I love Mexican food. From upscale, to your everyday Mexican food that you can find in Anytown, USA.

I like off the wall, hole in the wall taco stands and everything in between.

But the first thing I do when I get to a new city is consult Yelp and consult my friends who live in that city.


Because they’ve experienced it. They can speak first hand about the deliciousness of their local Molcajete or Tacos de arrachera a la parilla.

Don’t you think that students are doing the same thing about your college?

Students are searching Google. They are getting a lot of information second-hand. They are getting information from a friend of a neighbor’s cousin who went to your university in 1968. How many times have you overheard a conversation between two people and they are discussing your university and everything they are saying is completely wrong? Don’t you want to control the narrative? Of course you do.

And that is what brought me to Unibuddy. Unibuddy connects prospective students with current students, faculty, admissions staff, and even coaches. Prospective students can gain first-hand knowledge about life on campus.

Real, honest, authentic feedback

Your current students can provide real, honest, and authentic feedback to prospective students and you can gain valuable insights into your admission pool.

In a recent case study, 77% of admitted students who used the platform went on to enroll in the institution. Students from all over the United States, and the world for that matter, can easily engage with your University.

I’d like to show you a little more about what we do at Unibuddy and how we are helping institutions increase yield conversion. I will also now take your Mexican food recommendations. And when I’m in your town, we can grab lunch and talk college enrollment and Unibuddy. Send me an email at [email protected] and we can schedule a call.


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