Where is Your Next Freshman Class Coming From?

200187146-001I have been spending time recently researching enrollment trends and statistics, which I will be presenting in a webinar on September 30th, titled Fighting for Students in a Shrinking Market: The New Normal. This research generated the ideas for this blog post. I hope you enjoy the post and that you can attend the webinar as well.

There are a LOT of ways colleges and universities can recruit these days. While we need to know where we will recruit our next class of students, we also need to know when to start, and through which medium to spend our resources. In the capable hands of a subject matter expert, this probably doesn’t seem “impossible” per se, but it takes a huge portion of the little time available to them. Even more pressing is the fact that there are so many more arenas to consider for recruiting: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, mailing lists – paper and virtual- and of course the traditional college fairs and visits. With so many fields, each deserving of their own consideration, recruitment resources are being stretched paper thin.

This makes finding ways to be more efficient even more critical. It’s not all bad news though! With increasingly convenient access to data (across the board), recruitment offices have never had more tools to gauge the success of their efforts. More importantly yet, offices can now identify untapped markets in their prospect population with unprecedented ease. Your data can be telling you so much:

  • Which regions is your college most appealing to?
  • What recruiting mediums are yielding the highest returns for applications?
  • Are college visits more effective than college fairs?
  • What sort of impact are your institutional programs having on prospect behavior?
  • What potential major/departments are prospects most interested in?
  • Are your athletics departments primary contributors to recruiting appeal?
  • Do you need to revise your resource allocation?
  • How much more buzz can you expect to generate by upscaling specific programs?
  • Should you be targeting students of higher academic quality?
  • How much can you diversify your student body?

One great method to gauge your best recruiting avenues is by developing “Prospect Yield” models.  These models identify historical patterns to rank your best prospect sources rather than the prospects themselves.  In my next blog post, I’ll describe how to develop your own Prospect Yield model.

What is your data telling you? Do you want to hear more about how to get at specific items on this list? Let me know- I’ll dedicate a blog to it in the future!


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Decentralize analytics. Harness the power of many.