Counselors Are Chasing The Wrong Students
Whatever day you’re reading this, if you’re an admissions director, ask yourself this question: which students are your counselors reaching out to today?
Who did they reach out to on February 17? What about October 9?
Were they the right students?
I raise this question because I think counselors are chasing the wrong people on balance. Not intentionally – it appears that in most cases, neither the admissions counselor nor the admissions leader can accurately identify the right students to reach out to. So, they cast a wide net and let loose their most precious resource, an admissions counselor’s time.
Imagine being able to break out your admit pool by demonstrated interest with the level of accuracy on this chart. In each of the buckets, students are scored by the behaviors they’ve shown indicating interest in enrolling, and each bucket has a corollary probability of enrollment that is validated by the highest levels of data science and machine learning.
If you had access to this information, how would you answer the question of, “Who are your counselors reaching out to today?”
Without access to this chart, perhaps you’d tell a counselor to contact a certain number of students this week. Which students will they be drawn to? If they’re like most of us, they’ll be drawn to students at the top of the chart with the highest probability of enrollment. Those students are already hooked; the conversations are fun, engaging, and affirming. But when they spend time re-engaging with students who are already at a 90% probability of enrolling, they’re not helping to improve enrollment.
Without access to this chart, perhaps you’d generate a call list from their applicant pool, maybe limiting it based on the FAFSA or visits. But you’ll also certainly catch a huge chunk of students at the bottom, with virtually no probability of enrollment. This will lead to short, abrupt, or even rude conversations, hang-ups, etc. This is demoralizing to your counselors.
With access to this chart, however, you can correctly identify the students who are interested, engaged, and considering your institution but not yet sold. This is where the conversations are the toughest, as students will ask probing questions, but they are also the most productive. Here, you can identify your swing students – the students who will make or break your class this year.
This chart is just one way to do it, but admissions directors everywhere need to have a very specific, data-sound way of identifying their swing students. If not, chances are good that your counselors spend much of their time chasing the wrong students.
Which means you and your counselors are missing opportunities.