Higher education is a competitive landscape, which has only escalated in recent years.
How do you make your school stand out? How do you get interested students through the funnel as friction-free as possible? In what ways can you keep your current students happy and engaged?
Engagement is different from school to school and from student to student. What works in one scenario may not work in another.
The good news is that there are tips around enrollment, yield, and retention that can help your staff improve effeciencies. Let's dig in.
Optimize Your Website to Attract Prospective Students
According to RNL's E-Expectation report, 57% of prospective students will find your institution online. Hiding information in long paragraphs, gating access to materials, etc., can frustrate students and cause them to leave and not think of your school again.
When students find you via a search engine, their first stop isn't your homepage. Prioritize your program pages to show potential career outcomes, highlight your alumni, and be transparent about tuition costs, resources, and campus life.
Some sites also read like a novel. Use photos and video content to break up large paragraphs of text.
Know Your Audience
The same message won't work for every student. Understanding who you are talking to plays a significant role in attracting prospective students and retaining your current ones.
First-generation students might not have a parent or guardian to lean on for support while applying to school, registering for classes, or tackling the many steps needed to obtain financial aid.
Adult learners often have responsibilities outside of work and school, including caretaking for children or other family members. They value flexibility more than any other demographic.
The level of engagement offered by current students also has a wide range. Some students join clubs and campus organizations, run for student government, etc., while others randomly find a sense of community in intramurals, etc. Finding ways to offer both routes can lead to higher retention rates. Make your strategies as diverse as the group of students you're trying to reach.
Meet students where they are by allowing your communications to be conversational. Texting is an excellent medium for one-on-one conversations with prospective students and adding a personalized touch.
How you speak about your school gives students an insight into what they can expect from your institution. Your values, mission, etc., should be a compass for all your communications.
Sugarcoating complex processes will only hurt your institution's reputation. Describe your experiences authentically and point out unique characteristics about your institution to differentiate your school. Being authentic also means being transparent. Make sure students can find what they need from your website to make a decision, like a cost calculator.
Build Relationships with Parents
The future of parent and family engagement is here, and parent involvement in the college experience is at an all-time high. Studies show that parent engagement can improve student yield and retention.
Student persistence can increase by up to 15% when students share aspects of their academic and financial records with their parents. Students with involved parents have an 82.5% chance of enrolling in their second year compared to 72.4% of their hands-off parent peers.
By proactively communicating with parents as soon as possible in the search and enrollment processes, the more you can help set involvement expectations. It lets students know you're on their side and want them to succeed.
Learn more tips for yield, enrollment, and retention in our recorded For Your Institution (FYI) Live event with the video below.
Interested in joining us for future FYI discussions? Register at https://bit.ly/3FR7v4n