With the fall enrollment season behind us, many higher education institutions are looking to develop an enrollment management plan for the spring to meet this fiscal year’s enrollment goals. One of the big questions for admissions and enrollment management leaders is how to make a material impact in just a few months.

If you work in admissions, you know that best case scenario you have anywhere from 3 to 12+ months for leads to mature into enrollments. With the short time window you have to impact spring term it is critical that you focus on the right enrollment management practices and start to build a plan today.

I have calendared out three strategies for you to think about. And my advice to you is to think like a college student (or busy non-traditional learner): make it as easy as possible.

1) Amp up support for students

Provide them with tools and readily available enrollment advisors. You’ve worked hard to attract new students so making the most out of your spring pipeline should be a top priority.

October:

Streamline the process students need to take to complete their applications or enroll in classes. It could be something as simple as providing a checklist that is readily available on your website and emailed out to students.

November – January:

Make sure enrollment advisors are readily available to answer the phone and quickly follow up with students who are inquiring. Students today expect to get questions answered quickly at a time that is convenient to them. If you are recruiting non-traditional students, consider what time of day is best for them. You may need to consider providing resources and support in the evenings, for example.

2) Reactivate your enrollment pipeline

Combine outbound calls, email, even text messages to quickly activate the students you’ve already attracted but haven’t enrolled. This technique can be affordable and effective and is supported through research– see this article on NPR higher education.

October:

Focus on re-activating aged leads by helping students complete their application.

November – January:

There are two groups you can focus on during this period: admitted students and previously registered students. These populations are a great target for enrollment advisors to focus on. Don’t underestimate the power a personal call, text or email can have to get a student through that final hurdle to enroll.

If you are concerned about staff resources you may consider a partner to help you quickly deploy these types of campaigns. We have successfully worked with a number of colleges and universities in this way. Take a look these amazing results.

3) Reaching new students

This remains an important part of growing your enrollments. Without being able to attract and encourage students to inquire about your programs, you won’t be able to achieve your goals. But normally the process of reaching and marketing to new students takes time and planning. You may be thinking that this is not a valid strategy but I disagree. The focus here should to be get prospects to take action. Get CTAs front and center. My colleague, Christina Fleming, wrote a recent blog on this approach we like to call ‘conversion marketing’ you may want to also read for more insight.

October:

Your main goal needs to be to get prospects to take action. One small but powerful tool we have used very successfully with clients is to include dates such as application or enrollment deadlines in paid search, display or re-targeting creative to instill a sense of urgency with prospects. It’s amazing how changing the call to action on your website or in your emails can have a big impact on conversion rates.

November – January:

Focus on lower funnel activities to attract students toward the end of the year. Leveraging paid search can help boost prospect action. For example, branded keywords containing your institution’s name can help capture prospects that are already considering your institution, and degree-specific keywords can help capture prospects that already know what program they’re interested in pursuing. Lastly, don’t forget that the advertising you do leading up to spring term is helping build a pipeline of students for your next terms as well.

Marketing is an art but it is also a science. It is important to be able to analyze what is working, what is not and where students are getting stuck and not moving on to the next step. If you can take a look at these areas quickly in the next weeks and make some strategic decisions with your resources you can make a difference and boost student enrollment for spring.

Learn more about how we are supporting institutions with strategic marketing and enrollment services.

Step-by-step approach to student recruitment

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