With the number of traditional prospective students declining and many admissions offices facing funding challenges, officials need to focus their efforts to enroll the students their institutions need. Cultivating serious prospects is a better strategy than casting a wide net to attract applications.

Information students provide when they take the PSAT is a good starting point. Knowing what majors prospects plan to pursue and what their other interests are, officials can send communications that focus on those areas. A personal approach also works best for students who filled out an inquiry.

Officials can use an abundance of tools to communicate with students. Using a variety of them works best. For example, email, mobile services, social media and traditional mail can all have a place in outreach to students. Finding out students' preferred method of communication and relying most heavily on it helps personalize the experience.

And newer ways of communicating such as personalized microsites can also be effective. Keep in mind what students want to know about institutions as they choose were to apply.

Their key questions include:

  • Does it have programs that meet my needs?
  • Does it offer extracurricular activities that interest me?
  • Does it meet my financial criteria, either in cost or providing the aid I need?
  • What are the student who enroll like, especially the one who will graduate?

For the institution, targeted communications work best as part of a student lifecycle strategy. You don’t want to just recruit students: You want to recruit graduates. So focusing just on the beginning of the process is a mistake.

This article is an excerpt featured in the March 2014 issue of Enrollment Management Report - view the full article.


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