The concepts in this article will be further discussed in an enroll ml webinar on Tuesday, April 25, at 3:00 (eastern).
According to McKinsey’s Consumer Decision Journey (as well as Festinger’s Cognitive Dissonance Theory, among others) – the process isn’t done for our students when they submit the deposit.
A hard reality we have all come to understand thanks to an increased need to focus on summer melt and student retention.
Even after the education has been purchased by the student (uncomfortable language used intentionally) – it’s not over. That’s what leads us to the final stage of the journey.
Step five – post-purchase evaluation
In admissions, we tend to think of this largely as an issue of summer melt, but in reality, it carries all the way through each semester’s retention challenge.
However, for the purposes of this blog, let’s think about what happens related to admissions. In our work, partly through a comprehensive time study I am conducting related to the yield process, we are finding that a great many colleges accept a deposit, and then wait to start anti-melt activities until June.
While this may be the right decision for some institutions, especially those with low melt risk.
But far too often, institutions who cannot afford to lose sight of a single student are taking an early deposit to be a sign that a student can opt out of the positive messaging that comes during the yield cycle.
This is wrong.
Through our machine learning engine, we can identify the signals that students, even those who have submitted a deposit, are losing interest. To leverage the insights from McKinsey’s Consumer Decision Journey to increase yield, Admissions Directors need to identify a system of identifying wavering deposits in January, February, March, April, May, June, July, and August.
Waiting until June is too long – and there’s lost enrollment potential. I have yet to find an academic theory regarding the buying / decision process that relates to the college search process that identifies a months-long “pause” in evaluating alternatives.
That admissions offices have one built in is our need to fit the process we’ve constructed. This delay before starting anti-melt is not centering the student, the family, or even the institution.
Continuing to engage with and recruit early deposits should be a higher priority than it is.
This, and other aspects of this topic, will be discussed on April 25 at our next enroll ml webinar, with a recording available afterward.